Gutsy Yastremska outlasts Tomljanovic in epic Thailand Open final
By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Dayana Yastremska with the WTA Thailand Open trophy / Photo by Wanchai Kraisornkhajit
Hua Hin – Gutsy teenage Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine fought back from 2-5 in the final set to beat sixth-seeded Alja Tomljanovic of Australia 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-3) for her second title in the US$250,000 WTA Thailand Open on Sunday.
Dayana Yastremska and Ajla Tomljanovic
The world No 47 was twice away from defeat at 30-30 and deuce at 2-5 in the final set but fought bravely to turn things around and won the match in two hours and 22 minutes. It was her second career title after she won in Hong Kong last year.
“I didn’t know how I came back to win. But I knew if I play point by point I could still win. So I didn’t really care about the score. I managed myself to stay calm and found some power and energy to give my best for the last couple of points,” said the Ukrainian who took home a US$43,000 cheque as the winner.
“(During the third set) My dad said to me you are going to win. Then thought of my mother who just had eye operation in Ukraine. That’s what motivated me as well. I wanted to win for my mother. She is in pain and were watching me on TV,” added Yastremska who will rise to No 43 in the world.
Yastremska who beat the Australian 6-2 3-6 6-2 during the China Open qualifying round last year was quick into gear right from start, unleashing heavy shots especially on the forehand side to take a lead 5-0.
Tomljanovic finally put herself on the scoreboard in the next game at 1-5. Thanks to two straight errors from the Ukrainian. Yastremska still played a loose game that cost her the next game but she recovered quickly to break back and won the 33-minute first set, firing a backhand down the line that her opponent could not hit back across the net.
In the second set, Tomljanovic, after two all, dominated play with more solid baseline game whereas Yastremska was overwhelmed with unforced errors, losing four games in a row to drop the second set in 31 minutes.
Ukrainian broke for a 2-0 lead in the decisive set but lost patience most of the time in the rallies as she dropped the next five games to let her foe go up 5-2.
Yastremska called for trainer to look after her left leg and cut down her errors when play resumed, reeling off four straight games to lead 6-5.
In the tie-break, Yastremska was in full charge with deep groundstrokes. She blast a forehand winner on her first match point to win the match.
The Ukrainian before leaving the True Arena paid her final respect to a spirit house where she stopped by everyday.
“I asked for power and energy to play in the match. I have to thank it before I leave,” she added.
Tomljanovic, as runner-up, won US$ 21,400. She again has to bear another final defeat after losing all previous three in 2015 Thailand Open in Pattaya, and 2018 in Rabat and Seoul.
In doubles final, second-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu of Romania beat Anna Blinkova of Russia and Yafan Wang of China 2-6 6-1 12-10.
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