Tamarine escapes to victory
[TENNIS] Gutsy Tamarine Tanasugarn did a Houdini act to advance to the second round, but compatriot Danai Udomchoke had no such luck as he squandered a comfortable lead to lose in the final qualifier of the US$5.3 Million Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, on Thursday.
Tamarine survived a double set point against Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine, summoning all her resources to move past the qualifier 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in a match that featured a series of service breaks.
Danai's dream of entering the first Masters Series main draw were shattered when Chilean Paul Capdeville upset him 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. The second-seeded Thai was up a set and a break at 1-0 in the second only to let his opponent claw back into the match.
"I played a good first set and had the match in my hands after I broke him for a 1-0 lead in the second,'' said Danai. "I think he was mentally down, but then I rushed too much and let him come back into the match."
All is not lost for Danai, however. The Thai is likely to be promoted to the main draw as a lucky loser if there is a late withdrawal from the main draw.
Tamarine, back in action after three weeks of resting her injured foot, came up with a gritty display to stave off two set points at 4-5 in the first. She needed three deuces to hold for five-all before dictating play to land the first set 7-5.
She fought back from 0-2 down to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but failed to sew up the match. The Thai dropped her serve and was forced into the tie-break, where she prevailed 7-3. Tamarine will play her second-round match against Australia's Samantha Stosur, the 21st seed, who received a first-round bye.
Meanwhile, Elena Likhovt-seva continued her mastery over Japanese opponents by beating Akiko Morigami 6-3 6-2 in a first round match.
The 31-year-old Russian improved to 3-0 lifetime against Morigami by firing four aces in the one hour, 26-minute match.
In other women's first-round matches on Thursday, Romina Oprandi of Italy booked a
second-round date with former US Open champion Kuznetsova by beating Lilia Osterloh of the United States 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
American Vania King needed two and a half hours to defeat Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine 6-4 3-6 7-5.