Thursday February 28, 2013
Wang Qiang sends ailing Wozniacki packing in first round
By AShREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: China’s Wang Qiang claimed the biggest scalp of the BMW Malaysian Open when she sent ailing top seed Caroline Wozniacki packing in the opening round at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) yesterday.
Wang Qiang, ranked No. 186 in the world, packed off the world No. 10 in three sets – 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 – in two hours and 16 minutes.
The 21-year-old, who hails from Tianjin, said she did not go into the match with any expectations apart from doing her best.
“I just tried to do my best because she (Wozniacki) was once the world No. 1. So, I just wanted to do my best,” said a soft-spoken Wang Qiang.
Wozniacki was up a set before Wang Qiang pulled back to level at 3-3 in the second in what proved to be the turning point of the match.
The Dane revealed after the match that she was feeling under the weather.
“I tried my best but didn’t have enough energy ... was feeling light-headed. My trainer tried to freshen me up but nothing worked. I couldn’t even collect match point when I had the chance,” said Wozniacki.
The victory over Wozniacki comes as Wang Qiang’s biggest ever triumph in her career – and her first against a top-10 player.
Yesterday proved to be a triumphant one for the qualifiers as Wang Qiang was one of the four other qualifiers – Luksika Kumkhum, Akgul Amanmuradova, Zarina Diyas and Nudnida Luangnam – to advance into the second round.
Wang Qiang will meet unseeded Austrian Mayr-Achleitner next.
Meanwhile, third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkov of Russia also needed three sets to dispose of compatriot Vera Dushevina 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 to advance into the second round.
The match originally started on Tuesday but was halted twice due to rain, with the score tied at one-set a piece and Pavlyuchenkova leading 2-1 in the third.
When play resumed yesterday, the duo took full advantage of the warm sunshine to provide some entertaining tennis, with neither Russian willing to back down.
Pavyluchenokva also failed to put the game away when she was leading 5-4 in the third set. Dushevina fought back to hold match point at 6-5 but she too could not put the game to bed.
The match was then decided in a tiebreak, with the fourth-seeded wildcard Pavlyuchenkova coming up tops to set up a second round clash against Uzbekistani qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova, who beat Taiwan’s Chang Kai Chang 6-1, 6-3.
In other matches, China’s Zhang Shuai breezed past Malaysian wildcard Aslina Chua 6-0, 6-1.
In the doubles, the Pliskova twins – Kristyna and Karolina – booked their spot in the second round with a routine 6-3, 6-4 win over the Ukraine-Australian pair of Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olivia Rogowska.
The twins will take on Ukraine’s Irina Buryachok and Taiwan’s Chan Hao-Ching, who beat Malaysians Yus Syazlin Nabila-S. Theiviya 6-1, 6-1.
Three matches, including that of defending champion Hsieh Su-wei’s against Japan’s Kurumi Nara, were suspended due to rain.