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Sunday, 5 March 2017

WTA Alya Malaysia Open 2017 - Australian Ashleigh Barty on verge of creating history in singles and doubles final today








Australian Ashleigh Barty in action against China’s Xinyun Han (not pictured) in the semi-finals of the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, March 4, 2017. — Bernama pic


KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Australian Ashleigh Barty is on the verge of creating history as the first ever player to win the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open singles and doubles titles at TPC Kuala Lumpur, here tomorrow.

The 20-year-old becomes the first ever player to play in both the singles and doubles finals here by upsetting China’s Han Xinyun 6-3, 7-5 in the singles semifinals, today.

With the win, Ashleigh, who becomes the first qualifier since Taiwan’s Hsieh Su Wei in 2012 to reach the finals here, will face her former doubles partner Nao Hibino of Japan, tomorrow.

Ashleigh had cruised into the doubles finals when paired up with her compatriot Casey Dellacqua to oust Belgium’s Elise Mertens and Ipek Soylu of Turkey 6-3, 6-2, yesterday.

The world number 158 (in singles) is also expected to make her debut into the world’s top 100 if she claims the singles title during her maiden finals in the WTA tour, tomorrow.

Speaking to the reporters after the match, the right handed player promised to give equal attention in both singles and doubles match, tomorrow.

“I will focus on both. I have the luxury of having a doubles partner in Casey who is happy to help me with anything.

“I now feel that I am both a singles and a doubles player. Obviously, I will warm up with Casey tomorrow morning and then prepare the same way for both finals,” the former cricketer said.

Meanwhile, world number 106 Hibino marched into finals after making a comeback from first set defeat of 2-6, to edge Poland’s Magda Linette 6-4, 6-4 in the rubber set.

“I felt very tired because I played late night yesterday, but I can see a lot of supporters here, so I fight till the end to win. I didn’t think much, I just hit the ball deeper and make her run.

“Of course I am hungry for the title. I know playing against Ashleigh would be tough...We were good friends because we played doubles together during our junior times, so I need to prepare,” she said.

If she claims the title tomorrow, it will be her second WTA title after winning the 2015 Tashkent Open in Kazakhstan.

In today’s only doubles semifinals, Nicole Melichar of United States and Japan’s Makoto Ninomiya fought hard to edge Russian duo Natela Dzalamidze and Veronika Kudermetova for a place in the finals.

The fourth seeds easily won the first set 6-4, but had to fight neck to neck in the second set before winning 7-6 (10-7) in the tiebreaker.

They will challenge Ashleigh and Casey for the doubles title, tomorrow. — Bernama

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/sports/article/ashleigh-eyes-double-title-at-alya-wta-malaysia-open#sthash.CqBqhLfc.dpuf








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