Sunday March 3, 2013
Mattek-Sands sets up final date with Pliskova
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s BMW Malaysian Open singles final will be between a wildcard and an unseeded player.
American Bethanie Mattek-Sands overcame third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1 while the unseeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic took apart fourth seed Ayumi Morita of Japan 6-0, 6-2 in yesterday’s semi-finals at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC).
The first semi-final saw world No. 197 Mattek-Sands and world No. 29 Pavlyuchenkova trading shots until the American took a 4-3 lead.
Mattek-Sands then went on to take the first set 6-4 but play was then suspended due to rain.
When they got back on court, Pavlyuchenkova took the first game of the second set but it was all Mattek-Sands after that.
“I’m really happy with how I played. She was hitting the ball hard, serving well and attacking my serves.
“It was a battle of two aggressive players out there,” said Mattek-Sands.
“I’ve made a couple of singles finals in my career but I’ve yet to win a trophy.
“So, tomorrow (today), I’m going to bring everything to the court. I’m pumped up for it, I’m excited!”
Pavlyuchenkova was gracious in defeat.
“Credit to Bethanie. She played a really good match.
“I was really impressed with the way she played the first set.
“It was very aggressive and she didn’t let me play my game. If she plays like this all the time, she’d be higher up the rankings. She should be,” said Pavlyuchenkova.
While Mattek-Sands slogged, Pliskova needed just 46 minutes to check into the final of a WTA Tour tournament for the first time.
Pliskova sped to a 3-0 lead against Ayumi before wrapping up the first set 6-0.
Things were no different in the second set as Pliskova again took a 3-0 lead before the fourth-seeded Ayumi finally got on the scoreboard.
But the tide was already in the world No. 127’s favour as Pliskova took the set 6-2 to complete the rout.
“It’s a really good feeling for me (to make the final) but I hope it’s not just a dream ... and that I can do it many more times in the future,” said Pliskova.
“I was surprised it was an easy match. I expected it to be tough because I’ve played against her once two years ago and I lost, despite playing well.
“But I’m happy.”
Pliskova has faced Mattek-Sands just once previously – in the first round of qualifying at the Generali Ladies Linz in 2012. And the Czech lost 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Can she get her revenge here today?
SEMI-FINALS Singles: Karolina Pliskova (Cze) bt Ayumi Morita (Jpn) 6-0, 6-2; Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: Janette Husarova (Svk)-Zhang Shuai (Chn) bt Luksika Kumkhum (Tha)-Erika Sema (Jpn) 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.