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).