Morita Sets Up Kleybanova Clash

A first-time Tour finalist will emerge from the Malaysian Open's semis on Saturday.

Published February 26, 2010 12:00

Morita Sets Up Kleybanova Clash
Ayumi Morita

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Once again the tempestuous weather did its best to wreak havoc on the schedule at the Malaysian Open on Friday, but nonetheless the semifinals were set at the $220,000 International event.

Top seed Elena Dementieva remains the tournament favorite after her surprisingly brisk defeat of No.7 seed Magdalena Rybarikova, 60 63. In the semis the 28-year-old Russian takes on another veteran, 29-year-old Sybille Bammer of Austria, who dropped the opener against Chang Kai-Chen but applied her experience to regroup, 36 63 63.

"I think I played my game well today. I expect a very fast-paced match tomorrow, as Bammer is a strong player at the baseline," said Dementieva. "We've played each other a couple of times, and I've lost to her before, so I know I'll have to focus."

Bammer was especially pleased with her win over Zheng Jie's second round conqueror, considering she is playing her first tournament of the 2010 season after a shoulder injury.

"To me, Dementieva is a great player who has a good stroke and hits from the baseline well," Bammer said. "It will be a tough match against her tomorrow for sure, but I will push myself and do my best."

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The other semi pits Japanese 19-year-old Ayumi Morita against fourth-seeded Alisa Kleybanova, 20. Morita beat South African Chanelle Scheepers 63 75 while Kleybanova was pushed to the limit by Anastasia Rodionova before prevailing, 46 63 64.

Morita will be playing her third Tour semifinal, having reached the last four at Strasbourg and Guangzhou last year. Kleybanova reached three semis in 2009, but like Morita will be gunning for a first final on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

In the doubles, second-seeded Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Jie booked their place in the semis with a 64 64 win over Vitalia Diatchenko and Chanelle Scheepers. They next play Alla Kudryavtseva and Galina Voskoboeva, with the winners to face Anastasia and Arina Rodionova in Sunday's final.

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