Published on February 8, 2008
Local favourite Tamarine Tanasugarn and Polish top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska will stage the showdown of the tournament in today's quarter-final of the US$170,000 Pattaya Women's Open.
Fans have been waiting for five long years to see a Thai player proceed this far in the tournament after Tamarine reached the semi-final at the beach city in 2003.
But she kept the 1,000-strong crowd glued to their seats until the last point, to reserve the final-eight spot, squeezing past Russian Olga Poutchkova 4-6 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes.
"We both were playing well. Forehand was my big weapon and the backhand worked for her. So it just came down to who controlled the situation better and made less mistakes in the end,'' she said.
True to her words, a barrage of unforced errors, including 21 double faults, proved to be a killer blow for the Russian. Poutchkova fought back from 2-5 in the decider to reduce the gap to 4-5 only to net and spray long shots to give up the chance.
The Dusit Resort Hotel courts are expected to be crowded today when Tamarine renews her rivalry with Radwanska, who beat 2000 champion Anne Kremer of Luxe-mbourg 6-2 6-2.
"She is the up-and-coming young player and very talented. She has a variety of shots. She can play a power game and at the same time have a solid defence. I'm the underdog,'' Tamarine admitted.
The 18-year-old Polish applied smart tennis to beat Tamarine in the 2006 Wimbledon third round in straight sets. On that day, the Thai had a hard time chasing many drop shots from the teen.
Meanwhile, two seeds were knocked out by unfancied contenders. Slovenian Andreja Klepac, ranked 145 in the world, caused the biggest upset, using aggressive baseline shots to stun second seed Casey Dellacqua of Australia 7-5 2-6 6-2. Qualifier Vesna Manasieva of Russia fired a flurry of booming groundstrokes to upset third seed Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2 6-1.
Elsewhere, fourth seed Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan beat US' Lilia Osterloh 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 26 minutes, Ekaterina Bychkova of Russia ousted Sunitha Rao of India 6-4 6-4 and Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova beat Tzipora Obziler of Israel 6-4 6-2.