L&T Mumbai Open: Kumkhum claims maiden WTA title

The Thai bounced back to get the better of Khromacheva.

Luksika clinched the match in one hour and 47 minutes.   -  ARUNANGSU ROY CHOWDHURY

Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum scripted a dream run, winning her first WTA title, with a powerful display against the unseeded Russian Irina Khromacheva in the $125000 L&T Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India courts on Sunday.

A net-chord point off a double-fisted backhand brought an end to a pulsating title match at 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. Luksika won $20,000 and 160 WTA points.

When Khromacheva wrapped up the opening game, breaking her rival’s first service game in under three minutes, the impression was that the Russian was set to dictate terms against the tenacious Thai. She won the first point after an intensely fought rally and the last with a clever overhead lob.

The left-hander continued to dominate, even recovering from a three-point deficit of her first service game, to win five points and the game with a low drop. The roller-coaster ride was confined to the second game as the one-time World No. 89 took the opening set in quick time.

Finding the answers

But as was the pattern in her previous matches, Luksika thundered back, finding answers to a variety of high and low lob shots deployed by the Russian.

Khromacheva teased her opponent with some splendid drop shots, but Kumkhum, who should improve her ranking and dip under the 100 mark, turned the tables on her opponent to bring the title-match on level terms.

Kumkhum improved upon her first serve success rate in a remarkable manner — from 45% in the first set to 89% in the second — and made a supreme effort to give shape to a classic final. Once Khromacheva gift-wrapped the first game of the second set with three double faults on serves, Kumkhum did not look back.

Brimming with confidence, Kumkhum stamped her authority in the third and final set. Although she allowed Irina to effect a break back in the eighth game, Luksika won the battle of ground-strokes to clinch the match in one hour and 47 minutes.

The results (final): Singles: Luksika Kumkhum (Tha) bt Irina Khromacheva (Rus) 1-6,6-2,6-3. Doubles: Natela Dzalamidze & Veronika Kudermetova (Rus) bt Bibiane Schoofs (Ned) & Barbora Stefakova (Cze) 6-4, 7-6(4).