(AFP) – Sep 6, 2007
NEW YORK (AFP) — Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung will try to claim their homeland's first Grand Slam tennis title Sunday at the US Open after a straight-set semi-final triumph Thursday.
Chan and Chuang defeated Hungary's Agnes Szavay, a singles quarter-finalist, and Czech Vladimira Uhlirova 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) to book a berth in the championship match, where the winning team will divide 400,000 dollars.
"It feels very good. We're really happy," Chan said. "We're getting better and better. We tried our best."
Fifth seeds Chan and Chuang will play for the title against Russia's Dinara Safina and France's Nathalie Dechy, the seventh seeds, who beat Australian Rennae Stubbs and Czech Kveta Peschke 6-4, 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Chan, 18, and Chuang, 22, made a breakthrough for Taiwan by reaching this year's Australian Open women's doubles final, but lost to Zimbabwe's Cara Black and South Africa's Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1.
That run came in their Slam debut and only their third event together after winning in their debut as a duo in Seoul in 2005 and a runner-up finish at last year's Japan Open in Tokyo. Now they are again on the brink of history.
"It would be better for our nation, for national tennis," Chan said. "More people will come there to watch and support us."
Chuang, from Kaohshing, said a season playing alongside Chan, from Taipei, has allowed them to grow closer and develop methods of handling foes more easily.
"We're trying to do a lot more than before with strategy and tactics," she said.
Chaung visited historic Yankee Stadium last week to see Taiwan superstar New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-Ming throw six no-hit innings in a 5-0 victory over Major League Baseball rival Boston.
"It was so exciting to meet him," Chuang said. "He is a hero to everybody in Taiwan."
Chan and Chuang won their semi-final in one hour 43 minutes, hitting 52 percent of their first serves but taking 27-of-37 first-serve points and answering their European rivals by taking 21-of-51 points on their first serve.
The Asian duo enjoyed the atmosphere in their first match on famed Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
"It was good. Lots of people supported us," Chan said.
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