Hsieh becomes first Asian to reach Malaysian final

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Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan

Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan returns a shot against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece during their semi-final singles match at the BMW Malaysian Open women's tennis tournament in Kuala Lumpur. Hsieh won 6-0, 4-6, 6-1

Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei made history on Saturday when she became the first Asian player to reach the final of the Malaysian Open, defeating Greece's Eleni Daniilidou in 105 minutes.

The qualifier will make her debut in a WTA singles final on Sunday after outlasting a fast tiring Daniilidou 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

However, Hsieh is still to discover who her opponent will be after world number one Jelena Jankovic's semi-finals match with Croatia's Petra Martic was delayed due to rain.

Jankovic, the tournament favourite, faces having to play two matches in one day if she is to secure the $220,000 BMW Malaysian title after heavy downpours pushed the match back a day.

Early on Saturday Daniilidou had to complete her quarter-final match against Olivia Rogowska after rain forced the match to be held over from Friday with Daniilidou leading 6-2, 3-2.

Daniilidou was forced to work extra hard as Rogowska took the first four games to force a deciding set. The Greek, however, won 6-2 to progress and was grateful for the two-hour delay before the start of the semi-finals due to another heavy downpour.

A delighted Hsieh, who came through the qualifiers in this tournament, said she wanted to end the game quickly as she knew Daniilidou would be tired.

"I had to play two matches in the qualifiers so I knew how physically tired she would be playing back-to-back matches (in this weather)," said the 26-year-old, who won her first junior title on Malaysian soil 12 years ago.

"I have never played a five-hour match (including rain delays) and this is certainly a new experience for me. I'm delighted to have come up from the qualifiers to reach the final."

Hsieh raced to a quick lead after breaking Daniilidou's serve three times in the opening set but suffered a case of nerves in the second when she lost the first three games.

"I was thinking too much and made too many errors at the start of the second set," she said.

"In a way, the rain came to my rescue and after the 75 minute rain-delay, I was more focused and while I lost that set, I had gained my momentum back."

Earlier Saturday, Jankovic reached the semi-finals without having to pick up her racquet after Japan's Ayumi Morita pulled out injured, the second withdrawal in two days.

Top seed and world number five Agnieszka Radwanska pulled out Friday due to injury after a string of rain delays caused a schedule pile-up that forced her to face two opponents the day before.

Morita, who survived a tough second round match against compatriot Misaki Doi on Thursday, said: "My shoulder had been giving me a problem since two days ago when I played Misaki."

"I don't know much about the injury, except that it's painful. I will take a few days off before deciding if I will enter the next tournament," she added.

"I enjoy playing in Malaysia as there are many Japanese fans and I hope to be back for the fourth time next year."