Hseih’s dream week in Kuala Lumpa
Originally published on: 05/03/12 13:01
Hseih Su-Wei might have woken up this morning with the urge to deliver a sharp pinch to each of the arms she uses for her double-handed groundstrokes after becoming just the second player from Chinese Taipei to win a WTA title.
The Taiwan qualifier, who, like Marion Bartoli, plays with a curious double-handed forehand, was leading 2-6 7-5 4-1 in the final of the BMW Malaysian Open before exhausted Croat Petra Martic signalled to the chair that she could not continue. Hseih promptly became the first qualifier and Asian player to win the singles title in Kuala Lumpur.
Martic had withstood a three-hour battle against world No. 14 Jelena Jankovic in her 6-7(5-7) 7-5 7-6(7-5) semi-final win, which was postponed from Saturday due to rain, before facing world No.123 Hseih a few hours later.
The 26-year-old Taiwanese, whose previous best results on the WTA circuit were two semi-finals, at Bali as a 15-year-old in 2001 and at Pattaya City just a few weeks ago, battled her way through the qualifying rounds with some impressive victories, including a 6-0 4-6 6-1 win over Greek veteran Eleni Daniilidou in her semi-final.
She said: “In a way I was lucky but I’ll cherish this for as long as I can remember. I never expected to win this title. It wasn’t easy for me but I tried so hard to win. It has been a good week for Chinese Taipei here.”
Hseih was referring to the doubles victory of countrywomen Chang Kai-Chen and Chuang Chia-Jung’s earlier in the day, as well as her own surprise triumph.
In the first set, World No. 66 Martic asserted her authority, breaking in the third and seventh games to secure the opener in just 30 minutes.
She took that domination into the second and broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and looked set for a straightforward victory at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort.
Hseih, however, managed to get the crucial break back in the eighth game and that proved the difference as Martic was by then suffering with cramps. The Taiwanese player held her nerve to take the second set and mixed her shots well in the third before the Croatian called it quits.
Hseih has achieved most of her career 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.
The happy qualifier said: “I will definitely return to defend my title next year. My next tournament is Indian Wells, where I will only play doubles.”