Kuala Lumpur – Teenager Donna Vekic pulled off the surprise of the Malaysian Open so far, edging out second seed Zhang Shuai 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to clinch a final clash against top seed Dominika Cibulkova.
The 17-year-old Croatian, the youngest player in the main draw, overcame a humbling start to upset Zhang, who was the first Chinese player to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
“It was funny the way it went especially in the opening three games. Zhang Shuai played a flawless game,” the seventh seed said.
“I told myself before the second set that I had to up my game or else I would have smashed several racquets on the court.”
The world number 95 will hope to be third time lucky after losing her previous two WTA final appearances.
She will battle world number 10 Cibulkova for the championship after the Slovakian was stretched to three sets against defending champion Karolina Pliskova before living up to her top billing.
Cibulkova, who is seeking her fifth career WTA Tour title, disposed of the third-seeded Czech in a tightly-contested 6-7
(3/7), 6-3, 6-3 triumph at the Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur.
“I am delighted to qualify for the finals and hopefully I will achieve my second tour title of the season after Acapulco,” she said after a gruelling match which lasted over two hours.
Her win offers the 24-year-old a chance to be the first top seed to win the Malaysian Open. – Sapa-AFP