Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum entered her first WTA final as she stormed into the summit clash at the L&T Mumbai Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Russian sixth seed Margarita Gasparyan on Saturday. The Thai fifth seed will take on unseeded Irina Khromacheva in a bid to win her first tour title.
The 25-year-old, who was a game away from being knocked out in the first round against India’s Pranjala Yadlapalli, played a near error-less game in the second semi-final at the Cricket Club of India courts to counter the 6 feet tall Gasparyan.
“I am really happy to reach my final. I am playing my game. I didn’t miss early like before. I played well today and she was little tired, maybe because of an injury, but she wasn’t 100% so it is good for me,’ said Kumkhum, who had upset top seed Zheng Saisai in the quarterfinals.
“She changed her game today, she changed with some spin and serve. Yesterday she was hitting and serving big, today was different. But I was prepared for both games,” she added.
Kumkhum’s preparation was evident as she blazed to a 4-0 lead in the first set, breaking her taller opponent’s serve twice in succession. She lost her serve in the next game and once more in the first set, but came back both times to seal it with a break. The Russian was unable to hold serve even once through the first set.
Gasparyan got the early break in the second set and took a 3-1 lead. But the attacking Kumkhum put the set back on serve at 3-3 and thereafter kept a strong hold, finding the lines and misnimising her errors.
Serving to stay in the match, Gasparyan’s shaky serve was broken as the Thai player booked her final spot with a crisp winner down the line and then bowed with folded hands to acknowledge the crowd.
Talking about her final, she said she was going in with a never-say-die attitude. “I have nothing to lose. If you worry too much, you are not going to be able to play. So I am going to go have fun,” she concluded with a laugh.
Earlier in the day, Irina Khromacheva knocked out her doubles partner and last year’s runners up Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia 6-4, 7-5 in the first semi-finals.
In both the sets, Jakupovic managed to take a 3-0 lead but the Russian fought back to turn the tables on the world number 73, who was seeded second this year.