Wednesday February 27, 2013
Bethanie overcomes heat to stun sixth seed Vekic
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States overcame the heat and sixth-seeded Donna Vekic to advance into the second round of the BMW Malaysian Open at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) yesterday.
The American was delighted to grind out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over the 17-year-old Croatian.
“Donna came out playing well. I’ve never played against her before but I knew she’s very young and with a lot of talent and potential ... so, I knew I had to step up in the third set and play aggressive and serve big,” said the 28-year-old Mattek-Sands, who is ranked world No. 197.
“The heat is tough to play in ... but everyone has to play in the same condition. We just have to fight it out and be stronger. It’s my first time playing here in Malaysia.
“I came here not knowing what to expect but the other players told me that it’s the hottest tournament of the year.
“We were kind of expecting it to rain in the afternoon, so I was ready for it ... that’s part of tennis and being a professional – you just have to get through it all.”
The weather continued to be a thorn in the championship’s side as play was halted twice before it resumed for the second time at around 8pm. It was then called off for a third time due to rain.
Four matches were suspended, including the Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova-Vera Dushevina clash, which was already into the third set.
Among the matches which were not played yesterday included the ones involving Malaysians Aslina Chua (singles) and S. Theiviya-Yus Syazlin Nabila (doubles).
“The long break does take a toll on you. Lucky thing we got some practice in for two days. It’s not all bad. But it’s really tiring waiting around,” said a disappointed Aslina, who had her match against China’s Zhang Shuai called off for the second time in two days.
“I’m going to go out there and play really strong and fight for the match. Nothing changes. You’re still out there to win. It’s going to be a tough match, but she (Zhang Shuai) would expect a tough match as well.”
In other singles matches yesterday, fifth seed Misaki Doi of Japan had little trouble progressing into the second round after seeing off Italy’s Alberta Brianti 6-2, 6-3 in 66 minutes.
The 21-year-old Japanese will face unseeded Karolina Pliskova in the second round after the Czech downed Australia’s Casey Dellacqua 6-3, 6-2.
Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner also moved into the second round after beating France’s Claire Feuerstein 6-3, 6-4.