Fresh from grabbing two Asian Games medals, Thai No 1 Luksika Kumkhum continued her impressive form with an upset victory over seventh seed Christina McHale of the US 4-6 6-1 6-3 in the first round of the US$250,000 Japan Women's Open in Osaka.
Luksika, who teamed up with Tamarine Tanasugarn to win Thailand’s first ever women’s tennis doubles gold medal in the Games, took two hours to dismiss the world No 52.
After allowing the American an early break, which cost her the first set, Luksika elevated her level of baseline game to wrap up the second set easily, courtesy of three double faults from McHale.
The decider started with solid serves from both players. The American played a loose seventh game which gave the Thai a break to go up 4-3. Luksika, who also won the Games silver medal in the women’s singles final to China’s Wang Qiang, managed another break in the ninth game to close the match.
The Thai, ranked 93rd, will take on the winner of the match between Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US or Eri Hozumi of Japan in the second round.
In the women’s doubles, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Hiroko Kuwata of Japan will take on Renata Voracova of Czech Republic and Shuko Aoyama of Japan in the first round.