Top seeds advance at Pattaya Open
PATTAYA: Top seeds Vera Zvonareva of Russia and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark both progressed to the second round of the Pattaya Open with straight-sets victories on Tuesday. Zvonareva, a recent semi-finalist at the Australian Open, had to fight hard to overcome Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 6-4 6-3, but Wozniacki took just 67 minutes to sweep aside Chan Yung-Jan from Taiwan 6-3 6-0. Klepac’s strong groundstrokes often had Zvonareva on the defensive in a hard-hitting baseline battle. After saving a break point in the opening game the Slovenian broke to lead 2-0, but she dropped both of her next two service games when she twice double-faulted on break point.
Despite that setback Klepac continued to press, and Zvonareva had to fight off two break points to hold serve for 5-3 and another two as she served out the first set. Zvonareva was again put under pressure in the second set, holding off two break points to level at 1-1, before she made the vital breakthrough at 3-3 when her opponent yet again double-faulted on break point. Zvonareva then held for 5-3, and claimed victory when an attempted dropshot from Klepac on match point fell short. “It was a tough match,” said Zvonareva. “I think I’m a slow starter and for me it’s very difficult to play the first, second match of the tournament. Then I’m able to produce much better tennis later in the tournament. And especially she was a tough player today. She was serving pretty good, staying aggressive and I was a bit slow, a few too many unforced errors. I wasn’t executing my shots perfectly, but at the end of the day I won the match and did everything I needed to do to win it.”
Like Zvonareva, Wozniacki went behind 2-0, but after breaking back in the third game she was able to dominate the rest of the match. Fourth seed Sybille Bammer was stretched to three sets by Urszula Radwanska, younger sister of 2008 Pattaya champion Agnieszka, but she took command in the final set to win 6-4 3-6 6-1.
Sania Mirza, who became the first Indian woman to claim a Grand Slam title when she won the Australian mixed doubles last month with Mahesh Bhupathi, had to battle for nearly two hours to overcome 945th-ranked Thai Nicha Lertpitaksinchai. The 17-year old, playing only her second WTA Tour event, fell 7-6 (4) 7-5, but led 5-3 in each set and held four set points at 5-4 in the first set and another at 5-4 in the second. “She doesn’t play like she’s 945 in the world,” said Mirza. “Honestly, I thought she was playing, if not top 50 but at least top 75, top 100 tennis. She was doing everything. She was serving well when she needed to, she was not just hitting the ball like other 900-ranked players do. She was up 5-3 both sets and I raised my game a little bit and she couldn’t close it out, but that’s just experience I think and that’s going to come.” afp