All-Russian Final Set in KL
Published February 27, 2010 12:00
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Two of Russia's best will face off for the first time Sunday in the final of the inaugural Malaysian Open, after both Elena Dementieva and Alisa Kleybanova earned their berths in formidable fashion.
Fourth-seeded Kleybanova, a three-time semifinalist who is through to her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final, never lost her serve and sent down 11 aces in her straight sets win over Ayumi Morita, 64 61.
"Today my serve helped me a lot and I took advantage of it," said the 20-year-old. "I could relax and take more risks with my shots."
Veteran Dementieva was even more efficient against No.6 seed Sybille Bammer, who conceded the first set in just 16 minutes. Although the Austrian lefthander provided more resistance in the rain-interrupted second set, Dementieva broke five times while only losing her own serve once en route to a 61 63 victory.
"I'm really looking forward to the final as I have never faced Alisa before," said Dementieva, who has lost just 15 games so far this week. "I think she is one of the most talented young players around; she has a good serve and the key on Sunday is to hold on to my serve."
The Kuala Lumpur final will mark the 23rd all-Russian final in Tour history. Previously Dementieva has been a protagonist in 11 all-Russian title bouts, going 6-5 to date - and winning the last four. She is gunning for her 17th career singles title, and third of the 2010 season after Premier wins in Sydney and Paris [Indoors].
For her part, world No.29 Kleybanova is the third-highest ranked player yet to win a Tour singles title, right behind No.27 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No.28 Dominika Cibulkova. She already has five Top 10 wins to her credit, against four different players.
Check out all the latest off-court photos from Malaysia now!
The doubles final line-up was also set on Saturday, with No.2 seeds Zheng Jie and Chan Yung-Jan besting No.3 seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Galina Voskoboeva. Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova secured their spot in the final with victory over Ekaterina Dzehalevich and Tatjana Malek on Friday.