Sabine Lisicki had her supporters on the edge of their seats on Monday as she struggled to overcome a gallant challenge from Croatia’s Donna Vekic before reaching the second round of the PTT Pattaya Open women’s tennis tournament. In the end she came through 7-5 2-6 6-4 in a match lasting a shade over two hours.
The problem was her right shoulder which started to hurt during the match and became more problematic as the contest wore on.
Sabine Lisicki struggled through her opening match against Donna Vekic.
“It (the injury) happened during the match and as it went on it got worse and worse,” said the top-seeded German. “It was really, really tough to serve at all, but I played the finals here last year and have good memories so I really wanted to keep on playing and finish the match and not to lose in the first round. I love to play here and I love being in Thailand so I definitely wanted to win that match.”
Lisicki, a beaten finalist in 2013 to Maria Kirilenko, appeared to be struggling right from the start and dropped her serve in the opening game. The German came back to level at 2-2, but Vekic then broke again to lead 5-3 and served for the set at 5-4 before Lisicki turned the set around, winning three games in succession.
With Lisicki’s injury problems becoming more pronounced, Vekic took advantage and went on to capture the second set easily as her opponent struggled with her service. After an exchange of breaks early in the final set Lisicki broke again to lead 5-3, failed to serve out the match but then broke serve again to claim victory.
In other matches on Monday, second seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated China’s Zhang Shuai 6-0, 7-6 (3) and Chinese eighth seed Peng Shuai overcame Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-1, 7-6 (1). The only notable scalp on the opening day of first round matches was the defeat of seventh seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-2, 6-4 by Czech Karolina Pliskova.
A press conference was held at the Dusit Thani venue last Sunday to present some of the stars playing in this year’s event and also to perform the main draw for the tournament. Croatia’s Donna Vekic, former two-time winner Vera Zvonareva of Russia and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea were present to help tournament organizer Geoffrey Rowe of Pentangle Promotions and Thai Tennis Association officials complete the draw.
Donna Vekic, Vera Zvonareva and Sorana Cirstea pose with Thai Tennis Association officials and local public dignitaries during the draw for this year’s tournament at the Dusit Thani Pattaya resort, Sunday, Jan. 26.
This weekend will see the conclusion of the tournament with the quarter-finals taking place on Friday (15.00), semi finals on Saturday (16.00) and the singles and doubles finals on Sunday (16.00). Tickets are on sale at 300, 500, 800 and 1,200 baht and can be purchased at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Resort.
Rodionova takes on Kleybanova in one of Sunday’s qualifying matches.
For more information and up to date tournament information, contact the tournament office on site at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Pattaya or go to website: www.pentanglepromotions.com. Tickets can also be purchased through Thaiticketmajor on 02 262 3456 or website www.thaiticketmajor.com.
(Source – www.pentangle promotions.com)