Tamarine, Homecoming Queen?
Published Feburary 12, 2010 12:00
PATTAYA CITY, Thailand - The last two years she has fallen in the quarterfinals, but today local heroine Tamarine Tanasugarn advanced to the semis of the PTT Pattaya Open for the first time since 2003. The 32-year-old's next opponent is Sesil Karatantcheva, with the other semi to be fought out between top seed Vera Zvonareva and No.4 seed Yaroslava Shvedova.
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Of the four semifinalists, Karatantcheva had to work by far the hardest, taking 3 hours 23 minutes to end the run of Russia's Ekaterina Bychkova, 75 46 75.
But it was the effort because the Bulgarian-born player, who now represents Kazakhstan, is through to the last four of a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event for the first time. The last time the 20-year-old world No.185 even made the quarters was in 2005, when she reached the last eight at the Gold Coast, Roland Garros and San Diego and rose as high as No.35. Ironically, her first meeting against Tanasugarn was a first round loss at the Australian Open last month.
For her part, Tanasugarn - runner-up here way back in 1996 - made the quicker start against Anna Chakvetadze, who was coming off her first back-to-back main draw wins since New Haven last August. Although the young Russian put up more fight in the second set the wily veteran moved coolly to victory, 61 64.
Likewise defending champion Zvonareva was tested more closely in the second, holding off Austrian lefty Sybille Bammer, 60 76(5). Shvedova enjoyed the most convincing finish of the day, edging Tatjana Malek in a first set tie-break before cruising in the second, 76(4) 61.
Tanasugarn is also through to the doubles final, after she and partner Marina Erakovic ousted top seeds Anastasia and Arina Rodionova, 61 64. The other semi is to be played Saturday, with second-seeded Jill Craybas and Julia Goerges facing Chakvetadze and Ksenia Pervak.