Last Thai hopes extinguished as Luksika exits Open doubles
By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Luksika Kumkhum, left, and Cornelia Lister can’t compete with the third seeds.
Hua Hin -Thailand’s involvement in its top women’s tennis tournament came to an end on Thursday when the country’s No 1 female player, Luksika Kumkhum, and Cornelia Lister of Sweden went down to third-seeded Peng Shuai and Zhaoxuan Yang of China 6-1 6-4 in the Thailand Open doubles quarter-finals.
Luksika, who was eliminated from the singles first round by Zhang Shuai, struggled to find her form and was unable to match the solid game of Zhaoxuan and Peng, the former world No 1 doubles player.
“The Chinese players played better and we made too many mistakes,” admitted the 83rd-ranked Luksika. “Actually we felt more relaxed in the second set as we fought back from 1-5 down. But in the end they were still the better team.”
The Thai ace admitted she was short of confidence and it was something she needed to fix urgently.
“I’m not feeling confident at all with my game right now. I let the pressure get the better of me and it affects everything. I will talk to my camp and figure out a way to fix this,” said Luksika, who has lost all three of her first-round matches this year.
In the second-round match between Chinese qualifier Yingying Duan and Viktorijja Golubic of Switzerland, the European proved more consistent in her baseline game to prevail in straight sets 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
Golubic survived a string of booming groundstrokes from the hard-hitting but inconsistent Chinese to win the first set tie-break and managed a crucial break in the 11th game in the second set.
“I played her before and expected that [hard-hitting shots]. There were three games I didn’t see the ball but I tried to stay with her, varied my shots and became more aggressive,” said the Golubic, who reached the semi-finals of a WTA 125K series at the same venue in November 2017.
“I like to practise in Bangkok before I go to Australia and the US Open so I get used to the weather here. That’s why I always have good results in Hua Hin and I believe I can do even better than in 2017,” added the one-time WTA winner from the 2016 Swiss Open.
Elsewhere, reigning Australian Open doubles champion Zhang Shuai, seeded fifth in the singles, had to retire due to dizziness when she trailed 4-1 to fellow Chinese Yafan Wang.
In Friday’s quarter-finals, top seed Garbine Muguruza will be seeking revenge against Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska, who beat her 6-2 6-3 in the WTA Luxembourg event last year.
“She is playing very well right now. She is young and has nothing to lose. I’m looking forward to it,” said Muguruza.
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