Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Perfect birthday gift for Yussyazlin

IT turned to be the proudest day for Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri as she celebrated her 15th birthday along with mother Osmarina Othman, who turned 41 yesterday, by acing a double in the National Circuit second leg at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Yussyazlin, the top seed, defeated second seed Alyssa Boey 6-4, 6-2 to win her first ever women's singles title on the circuit before she and Nurin Nabila Roslan overcame Suhana Sofea-Loo Pei Shi 6-2, 6-1 in the doubles final.
"I was motivated today (yesterday). It is always special to achieve something on your birthday. This is my best ever gift for me and my mother," said Yussyazlin yesterday.
Yussyazlin earned RM1,200 for the singles win and RM300 (RM600 per pair) in the doubles.
World No 248 Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia blanked compatriot Elbert Sie 6-2, 6-2 in the men's final. It was his second title on the circuit.
Christopher-Elbert edged Syed Agil Syed Naguib-Ashaari Zainal 4-6, 6-0, 10-6 in the doubles final.
The circuit continues with the third leg on May 31-June 4.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Kai Chen is the first

A MATCH weary Chang Kai Chen of Taiwan became the first player to successfully defend a title at the WTA BMW Malaysian Open.
She and Shuko Aoyama of Japan sealed a dramatic 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 14-12 win over top seeds Janette Husarova of Slovakia and China's Zhang Shuai in the women's doubles final at Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Husarova and Zhang Shuai won the first set which saw both pairs exchange breaks on four occasions. They carried their form into the second set and were quick to break their second-seeded opponents in only the second game.
Kai Chen and Shuko, however, regained their momentum and broke back in the seventh game until a hip injury forced Kai Chen to receive medical treatment before the start of the eighth game. She also called for the trainer on another two times in the latter stages of the match.
Husarova and Zhang Shuai had a match point in the 12th game but could not seal the match. They were later made to rue the missed opportunity when their opponents took the second set on tie-break.
Kai Chen and Shuko needed four match points before they could seal a 14-12 win in the decider.
Kai Chen said she was delighted to take the title after a tough week of matches in Kuala Lumpur.
"This is a great win for us. We have had a tough week of matches and I am very happy we managed to come through. It was also mentally tough and I was hurting really badly (due to injury)," said Kai Chen.
"We were down a lot of times but we never gave up and never lost belief in ourselves. We needed a lot of match points in the (deciding) tiebreak and we tried to motivate each other to finish off the match."
The 22-year-old, who took the title with compatriot Chuang Chia Jung last year, said she will definitely be back next year. The title is her second with Shuko, after the pair also won in Washington last year, and her fourth WTA title overall.
Kai Chen and Aoyama received US$11,500 (RM34,025) for their victory while Husarova and Zhang Shuai took home US$6,000 (RM18,559).

Karolina grabs title

LTAM president Tan Sri Abdul Razak Latiff (right) and BMW CEO Dr Gerhard Pils present the trophy and mock cheque to Karolina Pliskova after winning the BMW Malaysian Open singles title yesterday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

CZECH Karolina Pliskova has finally made her presence felt on the WTA Tour.

The unseeded Karolina, who had never been beyond the quarter-finals of a tour event, bounced back from a first set blemish to overcome American wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the singles final of the WTA BMW Malaysian Open yesterday.

"I am delighted to win my first career title in Kuala Lumpur. I must thank my mother, Martina, for urging me on after I lost the first set badly," said Karolina at Royal Selangor Golf Club yesterday.

"I play a lot of doubles but now I love singles more. Bethanie was playing much better than me in the opening set as she was retrieving my serves well. However, I served a lot better in the second and went on to win the title."

The win will definitely give a huge boost to Karolina's tennis career. A former Australian Open junior champion, the World No 127 has been struggling to make a perfect transition from junior to senior tennis on the tour since turning professional in 2009.

Karolina, ranked ninth in the Czech Republic, turns 21 with her twin sister, Kristyna, on March 21 and her 200th win as a professional yesterday will be a perfect impending gift for the youngster.

The right-handed player, however, failed to gain a good start in the opening set as she had no answer to Bethanie's efficient play and was broken three times. Bethanie won it in only 23 minutes.

However, Karolina, a winner of nine ITF singles titles, played aggressively in the second and both players held serve before the Czech broke the 12th game to level proceedings.

The third set was halted for 40 minutes at 1-1 due to the rain before play resumed with Karolina immediately hitting the right chord to break Bethanie in the sixth game before sealing the match with an ace to claim victory in 106 minutes.

The aggressive Karolina was dominant, firing 10 aces and hitting 78 winners. She won 67 per cent of points behind her first serve compared to Bethanie's 57 per cent.

Karolina earned her biggest cheque of US$40,000 (RM124,000) while Bethanie, who appeared in three finals before, received US$20,000 (RM62,000). She is projected to surpass her career-high ranking of 107 after this win.

Bethanie said: "I won the first set but in the second, she started serving well and I couldn't break her. I am very happy with the way I played this week."

The Malaysian Open is quickly gaining reputation as a tournament for upcoming players to win their first tour title.

It has produced three first-time winners, also comprising Russian Alisa Kleybanova, who won in 2010 and Taiwanese Hsieh Su Wei last year, in four editions.