L&T Mumbai Open: Luksika outwits top seed Saisai

Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum staged a remarkable comeback to defeat top seed Saisai Zheng in the quarterfinal of the 2018 L&T Mumbai Open.

Luksika Kumkhum will face Russia's Margarita Gasparyan in the semifinal of the 2018 L&T Mumbai Open.   -  ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY

Luksika Kumkhum staged a remarkable recovery for the second time in three matches to enter the semifinal of the $125000 L&T Mumbai Open on Friday. Luksika, who is Thailand's top women's player, is already assured of $6000 and 57 points, which in a way is reflection of her strong run this year.

On Friday at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) courts, the 25-year-old Luksika disposed Chinese top seed Saisai Zheng in three sets with the scoreline reading 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. World No 47 Saisai began proceedings in a confident manner and dictated the pace of the tussle from behind the baseline and comfortably took the first set. 

Like she caused a terrific turnaround against Pranjala Yadlapalli, the fifth seed Luksika put up a stunning display and won all the crucial points to restore parity. She kept putting the ball back on court and forced her opponent into rallies.

Top seed Saisai Zheng in action at the 2018 L&T Mumbai Open.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Luksika led 5-1 in the third set before Saisai staged a comeback of her own to clinch three games in a row. But a livewire from the second set, Luksika played a string of solid ground strokes to seal the match advance into the last-four stage.

It has been a great year for Luksika; she won two ITF events Japan, reached the semifinals of two ITF events in China; both after a good run in the Australian Open where she played three qualifying rounds and as many in the main draw.

“Sometimes you have nothing to lose and just have to find a way to win. When it's a tough day, I don't think about it and just keep playing. I have played Saisai earlier this year and it was quite different that time,” said Luksika.

Luksika will play Russian Margarita Gasparyan in the semifinal. After losing the opening set, Margarita bounced back to oust Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic.

Results (Quarter-finals) Luksika Kumkhum (Thailand) bt Saisai Zheng (China) 3-6, 6-4,6-4; Margarita Gasparyan (Russia) bt Danka Kovinic (Montenegro) 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1.