KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - On a Wednesday in which three of the winners saved match points in the first round of the BMW Malaysian Open, Chinese qualifier Wang Qiang was the biggest newsmaker with a shocking upset of World No.10 Caroline Wozniacki for her first WTA main draw victory.
Up 62 31, the top-seeded Wozniacki appeared on the way to a routine win, but Wang reeled off four straight games, eventually fought off a match point down 6-5 and cruised through the tie-break and the third set for a 26 76(1) 61 triumph.
"I was feeling light-headed, but tried my best to keep playing," said Wozniacki, who was treated for heat illness. "I just didn't have energy out there. It's very disappointing to lose, but that's how it goes sometimes, and hopefully I can come back strong again."
No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova kicked off her season with a run to the final in Brisbane, but since then had lost four straight matches. She ended that skid in dramatic fashion in her Kuala Lumpur opener that began Tuesday and finished Wednesday, surviving fellow Russian Vera Dushevina, 26 63 76(6). In the two-hour, 49-minute thriller, Pavlyuchenkova escaped two match points down 6-5 in the third set and another in the third set tie-break.
Pavlyuchenkova talked about having to resume Wednesday with a 3-1 lead in the third set.
"You feel a little pressure because you're worried it's going to start raining again, so you want to play fast," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I had a tough first round and I'm happy I pulled the match out. Hopefully I'll be in good shape for tomorrow."
Next up for Pavlyuchenkova is Akgul Amanmuradova, who had a very busy Wednesday. She finished off a rain-delayed qualifying win in which she fought off two match points in the third set tie-break. She won her first round main draw match against Chang Kai-Chen, 61 63. And she was victorious in her doubles opener alongside Arina Rodionova.
"That's the first time in my career that I had that situation, where I had to just finish a tie-break," Amanmuradova said of taking the court for just a tie-break. "I just did a normal preparation and tried to be focused from the first point, knowing that that every point was crucial.
"Then I had a little bit of a break. My opponent played very flat and fast, so it was not an easy match. I'm glad I was able to finish in straight sets before the rain came again."
In a thriller involving unseeded players, Duan Ying-Ying saved six match points in her 63 46 76(12) defeat of Marta Sirotkina.