Thai No 1 Luksika Kumkhum has been assigned a gritty task in the Australian Open opening round as she is to face hard-hitting Naomi Osaka of Japan.
Luksika, who entered the year’s opening Major through a wildcard after she won the Asian/Pacific Wildcard Play-off in Zhuhai last month, trails the Japanese rising star 1-0 in their head-to-head record. The 19-year-old Osaka beat the Thai 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 during the qualifying competition of a WTA event in Tokyo two years ago.
"I have a tough first round match. I played and lost to her before. She has huge serves and big forehand. I hope this time it will be my day," said Luksika.
"I used to say to a friend that she will be a top 100 player soon. Now she is even in the top 50," the Thai No 1 added.
Luksika, now No 180 in the world, reached round two at the Melbourne Park twice in 2013 and 2014. As a qualifier, she upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of teh Czech Republic in the first round in 2013.
"I always have good feeings at the Australian Open. I always play well here. I hope I can have some great results again"