Hingis / Chan to take on Yang / Aoyama in Doubles Final


For the first time ever, the Wuhan Open will have a Chinese player in the final as Zhaoxuan Yang of China and Shuko Aoyama of Japan take on the #1 seeds Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan in doubles on Saturday.


The Chinese-Japanese pairing moved on to the final round when Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the doubles semifinal with partner Casey Dellacqua citing fatigue after defeating Jelena Ostapenko in the first singles semifinal.


Earlier, under rainy skies and a closed roof, the recent US Open champions Hingis / Chan took on #3 seeds Sania Mirza and Hunan native Shuai Peng. Hingis / Mirza were the 2015 Wuhan Open champions, but now found themselves on opposite sides of the net for the sixth time in 2017. Both teams made a nervous start, with the fiery red "Break Point" graphic frequently lighting up the stadium. In the first nine games, teams combined for six double faults and no aces on the way to eight breaks of serve, with Chan being the lone player to hold serve up to that point. 


At 4-5, Peng called for the trainer and during the lengthy medical timeout, the crowd was treated to an impromptu practice session where Hingis and Chan showed off their volley skills while Mirza warmed up her serve. Now with both legs strapped, Peng came back on court and held serve as did Hingis and Mirza, sending the set into a tie-break. A powerful smash from Hingis and a passing shot return from Chan soon gave the #1 seeds the first set, 7-6 (5).


Peng / Mirza came out in the second with a change of tactics. Both stayed back on Chan's serve, pinning the Taiwanese to the baseline with powerful groundstrokes kept well away from Hingis at the net. Under pressure, Chan committed a few unforced errors, allowing the Chinese-Indian team to open up a 3-0 lead. However, they were unable to hold on, as return errors by Peng and missed lobs by Mirza allowed Hingis / Chan back into the match. With Peng serving at 3-5, 30-30, a quick fire exchange at net between Mirza and Hingis ended with the Swiss on top, giving Hingis / Chan two match points. They were unable to capitalize, but in the next game, Chan served it out for a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win. The two are aiming for their eighth title of the year.