Championships Team Profile: Chan and Chuang
MADRID, Spain - They went to Melbourne as a relatively anonymous wildcard pair, but now they're one of the most feared duos around. Taiwanese youngsters Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung have had a breakthrough season on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, claiming a handful of titles but most notably becoming their country's first Grand Slam finalists - and doing it twice.
Before 2007, Chan and Chuang were 34-5 together, a solid record that included Tour appearances at the Tier IV event in Seoul in 2005 (winning the title) and at the Tier III Tokyo [Japan Open] last season (finishing runners-up) and eight ITF ventures (winning four titles). Their stellar numbers should have been an indicator of their potential in the big leagues, really.
The Taiwanese pairing has won 44 of its 55 matches so far this season, an 80% winning percentage that has spawned titles at Bangalore, Birmingham and 's-Hertogenbosch and one ITF title; but two of their four runner-up finishes - at the Australian Open and the US Open - have brought them much more attention, and were key in both of their rises into the Top 10 of the individual doubles rankings.
Going into the Australian Open as a wildcard team, they surprised No.2 seeds and defending champions Yan Zi and Zheng Jie in the semifinals before losing in three sets to Cara Black and Liezel Huber. The No.5-seeded team at the US Open, they again made it all to the final, falling there to Nathalie Dechy and Dinara Safina.
With Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur withdrawing from the year-ender due to Stosur's continued problems with a viral illness, Chan and Chuang became the second pair to qualify for the team event at the Sony Ericsson Championships, doing so on October 22. They finished at No.3 in the standings.
"We are very proud to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships and it's an even more special achievement being the first team from our country to do so," Chan said. "We've had a really great year, getting to the finals in Australia and New York, and to be one of the four best teams in Madrid is a dream come true really. I am really looking forward to playing here and to doing our best."
Race standing: No.3
2007 Team Win-Loss Record: 44-11
2007 Titles/Finals: Won (3): Bangalore, Birmingham, 's-Hertogenbosch; R-Up (4): Australian Open, Pattaya City, Indian Wells, US Open