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Hsieh & Martic Achieve First WTA Finals In KL

First-time WTA finalists Hsieh Su-Wei and Petra Martic will meet for the BMW Malaysian Open title.

Published March 03, 2012 12:00

Hsieh & Martic Achieve First WTA Finals In KL
Hsieh Su-Wei

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Different players break through at different stages of their careers, and Hsieh Su-Wei has done it now in Kuala Lumpur - the 26-year-old Taiwanese made her very first WTA final at the BMW Malaysian Open on Saturday, beating Greek veteran Eleni Daniilidou in the semis, 60 46 61.

Watch the Kuala Lumpur final on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

Hsieh, whose previous best results on the WTA were two semifinals, at Bali as a 15-year-old in 2001 and at Pattaya City just a few weeks ago, made it third time lucky this time, breaking through to the final of the International-level event with the one-hour, 45-minute win over former Top 15 player Daniilidou, winning five straight games from 1-all in the third set to close the match out.

"I knew she had played her quarterfinal match today and thought she might be tired," Hsieh said of Daniilidou. "My plan was to make her run as much as possible and it worked. I've never played a five hour match - with all the rain delays - but the rain saved me, because it allowed me to compose myself after making too many errors in the second set. I came back stronger."

While the No.123-ranked Hsieh has shown flashes of singles brilliance in her career, she has achieved most of her success in doubles - she has won eight WTA doubles titles and reached another five finals, and she has also been as high as No.9 in the rankings in the team discipline. But things are changing.

"It's a great feeling to come from the qualifiers and make the final, my first WTA singles final," Hsieh said. "I'm just thinking about my next opponent now."

Hsieh could become just the second player ever from Chinese Taipei to win a WTA title, after Wang Shi-Ting, who won six WTA titles (Hong Kong and Taipei in 1993, Taipei in 1994, Surabaya in 1995 and Surabaya and Beijing in 1996).

The second semifinal was pushed to Sunday due to rain, and it was an absolute cracker, as No.5 seed Petra Martic battled more than three hours to defeat No.2 seed Jelena Jankovic, 67(5) 75 76(5). Martic faced all kinds of deficits - 2-0 down in the second set, 4-1 down in the third set, even a match point at 6-5 in the third - but with some big forehands and even bigger serving she overcame them all to match Hsieh's feat, reaching her very first WTA final.

"Physically it was tough for both of us, playing in this heat, but all the credit to her," Jankovic said. "Her serving was consistent while mine broke down. It could have gone either way, but there's only one winner and the better one won."

Martic now has three Top 20 wins, beating No.15 Yanina Wickmayer at Paris in 2010 and now No.19 Peng Shuai and No.14 Jankovic this week.

Martic and Hsieh will be playing each other for the first time.

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