Saturday March 2, 2013
Mattek-Sands sends defending champion Su-wei packing
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Four years. Four different BMW Malaysian Open champions.
That’s how it’ll end on Sunday after American Bethanie Mattek-Sands sent defending champion Hsieh Su-wei packing 7-5, 6-2 in the quarter-finals at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) yesterday.
Su-wei was leading 5-2 in the first set but wildcard Mattek-Sands clawed her way back to take the first set 7-5.
Mattek-Sands kept the momentum going in the second set to easily romp home 6-2 and book her spot in the semi-finals.
“Sticking to my game plan and being aggressive really helped,” said the American.
“Su-wei is a super-talented player and can come up with some crazy shots. Just when you think you’re winning the point, she comes up with a winner ... so, and I was expecting that.
“I think I won because I played aggressively. I was looking to make her run and use my serves really well today and try to attack her return.
Su-wei blamed the tight fixtures for her loss.
“It was tough. I played two matches yesterday, one in the afternoon – and I was almost cramping everywhere – and one in the evening ... so, it wasn’t easy. It’s very tough to play against her (Mattek-Sands).
“She was in the top 30 before. Mentally, I wasn’t feeling so great but I kept trying ... I’ll be back next year,” said Su-wei.
No champion has ever defended her title at the BMW Malaysian Open since the tournament’s inception.
Mattek-Sands will meet third Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in today’s semi-finals after the Russian beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-0 in an earlier match.
Japanese fourth seed Ayumi Morita is also through to the last four, but not before being taken to three sets by Thailand’s Lukiska Kumkhum. Ayumi won 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-1 two hours and four minutes.
Ayumi will face Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in the other semi-final.
“She (Kumkhum) was playing very well from the beginning. She was serving well while I was too tight. I didn’t hit the ball well ... From the second set onwards, I tried to play a little more relaxed and it worked,” said the 22-year-old Ayumi.
“I’m happy to be in the semis because this is only the third semi-final of my career.”
Ayumi last appeared in a semi-final in the first edition of the championship in 2010.
n SINGLES Quarter-finals: Ayumi Morita (Jpn) bt Luksika Kumkhum (Tha) 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-1; Karolina Pliskova (Cze) bt Patricia Mayr- Achleitner (Aut) 7-5, 6-1; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt Ashleigh Barty (Aus) 6-2, 6-0, Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (Tpe) 7-5, 6-2.
Semi-finals: Shuko Aoyama (Jpn)-Chang Kai-Chen (Tpe) bt Kristyna Pliskova-Karolina Pliskova (Cze), 6-2, 6-1.
Quarter-finals: Janette Husarova (Svk)-Zhang Shuai (Chn) bt Marta Domachowska-Alicja Rosolska (Pol) 6-1, 3-6, 11-9; Luksika Kumkhum (Tha)-Erika Sema (Jpn) bt Rika Fujiwara (Jpn)-Zhang Saisai (Chn) 5-7, 6-3, 16-14