Kleybanova Bounced By Krajicek

Defending champion Alisa Kleybanova was shocked by Michaella Krajicek in the second round of the BMW Malaysian Open on Thursday.

Published March 03, 2011 10:55

Kleybanova Bounced By Krajicek
Michaella Krajicek

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Alisa Kleybanova's title defense came unstuck at the BMW Malaysian Open on Thursday, when the No.3 seed was beaten by dangerous but mercurial Michaella Krajicek. Former No.1-ranked junior Krajicek, currently ranked No.150 in the world, dispatched the 21-year-old Russian in the last of the second round matches, 36 64 63.

"I think I actually served well throughout the match, except for a patch near the end of the first set when I couldn't put a first serve in," said Krajicek, who had chances for a double break in the final set but ultimately only needed the one.

"It's a long time since I've beaten someone in the Top 20, so I'm really going to enjoy this win," added the former world No.30. "I've been playing well lately and to finally win two matches in a row at a WTA event and reach a quarterfinal is a first step. I'll take it one match at a time."

For her part, Kleybanova was philosophical about relinquishing what was her maiden trophy. "It's quite a disappointing day for me," said Kleybanova. "But I've got to give credit to Michaella… she played well, served very steady today and played well on the important points. She deserved to win the match.

"I got a title here last year, this time it didn't go so well, but I like to play in Asia and strange as it may sound, I like the heat," Kleybanova added. "So I hope to come back next year and go further in the tournament."

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Next up for Krajicek, 22, is Luxembourg's Anne Kremer, who booked her place in the quarters on Wednesday with a win over Thai up-and-comer Noppawan Lertcheewakarn. "She's a tough opponent - she runs really well and retrieves a lot of balls," said Kraijeck of the 35-year-old qualifier. "To be in the quarterfinals from qualifying, she must be feeling the ball really well. I will focus on my serve again - it's the key to my game - and try to stay as aggressive as possible."

With top seed Francesca also gone from the tournament, France's Marion Bartoli, the No.2 seed, is shaping up as even more of a title favorite after her routine 62 61 defeat of Ekaterina Ivanova on Thursday. No.4 seed Jarmila Groth faced a far sterner test from Japanese Misaki Doi, though. The Australian recovered a 4-1 deficit in the first set to force a tie-break, and then regrouped from 5-2 down in the breaker itself on her way to a 76(6) 63 win.

Fifth seed Lucie Safarova was also challenged, in the Czech's case by former world No.1 Dinara Safina, before prevailing 63 46 63. "She's been struggling the last year, but I think she's on her way back to her former tennis," said Safarova of her Russian opponent.

"I had chances to draw level at 5-5 in the second set, but she served really well and closed it out. The third set, I think, was good tennis from both sides but I tried to use my lefty serve and push her wide as much as possible."

Safarova faces Bartoli in Friday's quarterfinals, while Groth takes on Ayumi Morita and Jelena Dokic tackles Bojana Jovanovski.

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