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Tennis: Wozniacki wins title 23 in Malaysia; Wang, Liang win doubles

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Top seed Caroline Wozniacki lifted her first trophy of the year at the BMW Malaysian Open. Photo: AFP.

March 9, 2015: Top seed Caroline Wozniacki won her first WTA title of the year – and took her first-ever ‘selfie’ with a trophy – after coming from behind to beat Alexandre Dulgheru 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the BMW Malaysian Open final.

 

The World No. 5 had to dig deep to win her second final of the season in a match that had to be stopped for rain after 20 minutes with the score at 1-1, and only resumed two hours later.

 

Once the players returned, the unseeded Dulgheru surprised Wozniacki by taking the first set with the same grit and determination that earned the World No. 94 wins over eighth seed Julia Goerges in the quarter-finals and fourth seed Jarmila Gajdosova in the semis.

 

However, Wozniacki – who beat Taiwan No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2 to reach the final – raised her game in the second set, hitting hard and using her solid backhand groundstrokes to force a third set.

 

The former World No. 1, who reached her second US Open final last September, then really turned on the style as she coasted through the decider, opening up a 5-0 lead before clinching the match two games later for her 23rd singles title.

 

“It’s great to be back here and it’s great to win the tournament,” said Wozniacki, who lost her first final of the year to Venus Williams at the ASB Classic in Auckland in January.

 

“Dulgheru was a worthy opponent and she played well throughout the match. Even though we played each other last week, today’s final was a totally different game.

 

Wozniacki on the run in her three-setter against surprise finalist Alexandre Dulgheru.

Wozniacki on the run in her three-setter against surprise finalist Alexandre Dulgheru. Photo: AFP.

“I kept playing my game and put pressure on her, making her run, and she did the same to me as well. I knew that eventually she would get tired and she did, but I have to say well done to her for playing a good match.”

 

While Wozniacki was left celebrating her first title since last July’s Istanbul Cup in Turkey, the unseeded Dulgheru cut a tired figure, with the Romanian battler still feeling the effects of her epic semi-final.

 

“After playing a four hour semi-final, I was quite exhausted coming into the final. I was happy to be playing Wozniacki in the final, but I was just too tired,” Dulgheru said.

 

“My game plan was to attack her backhand and to move her around the court more, so that I could approach the net and play for every point that I could.

 

“But as the match got on, the exhaustion really sapped me. I had a bit of difficulty breathing and started getting a bit dizzy. She realised this and capitalised on it, and I just could not match her as the match progressed.”

 

Wang Yafan (second right) won her first WQTA trophy in her second event with Liang Chen.

Wang Yafan (second right) won her first WQTA trophy in her second event with Liang Chen. Photo: BMW Malaysian Open.

In the earlier doubles final, Chinese pair Wang Yafan, 20, and Liang Chen, 26, won their first WTA title in only their second tournament together when they overcame a first-set loss to beat Yuliya Belgeyzimer and Olga Savchuk 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.

 

Belgeyzimer, 31, and Savchuk, 27, looked set to hand Wang and Liang their second defeat to Ukrainians in as many WTA finals after winning the opener, but the Chinese came back to win the second set to force a super tiebreak, which they won convincingly to earn Wang’s first WTA trophy.

 

“I didn’t have high expectations coming in here, but I am a happy person. Most importantly, I won my first title here,” said Wang, who turns 21 next month.

 

“Liang Chen and I click well on the court. She is good at the net and I am better at the baseline, so it works great for us.”

 

In January, Wang and Liang reached the final of Shenzhen Open in their first tournament together, but fell to the Kichenok sisters, Lyudmyla and Nadiia.

 

Liang’s only previous WTA title was partnering Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung to victory in Guangzhou last September, but believes her partnership with the younger Wang could blossom.

 

“I am proud of this achievement. It’s only the second time we’ve got together in a tournament, so we should play together more,” said Liang.

 

“We were a bit nervous at the start, but felt better as the game progressed and only in the second set did we start playing our game.

 

While Liang focuses on doubles, Wang has aspirations in singles and is the ninth-ranked Chinese at World No. 160.

 

Source: BMW Malaysian Open (www.bmwmalaysianopen.com); Editing by SportAsia

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