Amidst a field brimming with hopeful young faces, Tamarine Tanasugarn and Kimiko Date-Krumm struck resounding blows for the old guard as they swept into the semifinals of the Royal Indian Open here on Friday.
Neither produced, by any stretch, a vintage performance but simply did enough at the right time. Tanasugarn took out the third seed Donna Vekic, who at 16 already sits on the fringes of the top 100 and is — going by several voices in the sport — cut out for great things.
On Friday evening, though, she left the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in tears, following a painful 6-2, 6-4 defeat.
The contest’s opening four games had been even, the pair level after trading breaks, but Tanasugarn took the next four to snatch the first set. Vekic raced away to a 4-1 lead in the second, hitting deep and well, and seemingly in control of the set.
But the Thai held serve, and in a critical seventh game found a massive dose of luck. At 30-all, with the ball sitting up, the opponent away beyond the baseline, and the whole court at her mercy, Vekic inexplicably smashed into the net.
Not one to spurn a lifeline, Tanasugarn snaffled the break point and, as the young Croat flung her racket into the floor, held serve.
Vekic’s composure steadily withered away as everything went right for Tanasugarn.
“I made a lot of mistakes today but I was lucky,” the 35-year-old admitted afterwards. “At 1-4 down in the second set, I thought I had to step it up and just went for everything. Fortunately, it came off.”
In Saturday’s semifinals, Tanasugarn will face the ageless Japanese Date-Krumm, who dispatched the second seed Misaki Doi. Playing her fifth match in four days, Date-Krumm showed few signs of discomfort during her 6-1, 6-4 triumph.
Earlier, Andrea Petkovic made short work of top-seed Nina Bratchikova to make the last four. Although the German is technically lower-ranked — on account of her year-long injury hiatus — it was evident here that she belonged to another level.
Bratchikova was dispatched 6-2, 6-0 in under an hour’s time.
In the semifinals, Petkovic will face the seventh seed Elina Svitolina, who advanced on account of Lusika Kumkhum’s unfortunate retirement. Having taken the first set of their quarterfinal, Kumkhum suffered a side strain, and gave up after soldiering on five games.
Also played on Saturday will be the doubles final, between the pair of N. Lertcheewakarn and Julia Glushko, who sent the top seeds packing, and Nina Bratchikova and Oksana Kalashnikova.
The results: Singles: Quarterfinals: Andrea Petkovic (Ger) bt Nina Bratchikova (Rus) 6-2, 6-0; Elina Svitolina (Ukr) bt Lusika Kumkhum (Tha) 6-7 (3), 4-1 retd; Kimiko Date-Krumm (Jap) bt Misaki Doi (Jap) 6-1, 6-4; Tamarine Tanasugarn (Tha) bt Donna Vekic (Cro) 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: Semifinals: N. Lertcheewakarn (Tha) & Julia Glushko (Isr) bt Eva Birnerova (Cze) & Andreja Klepac (Slo) 6-3, 6-4; Bratchikova & Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) bt Yi-Fan Xu & Yi-Miao Zhou 6-3, 7-5.