Thailand’s No 1 Luksika Kumkhum lost a three set thriller to Japanese rising star Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 5-7 in the Australian Open first round.
The wildcard entrant from the Asia/Pacific Play-off competition simply did not capitalize on her break point opportunities especially at four all in the second set and at three all in the final set where she slipped three break points away.
After holding to go up 6-5 in the deciding set, the 19-year-old Japanese-Haitian generated a crucial break in the next game to seal off the victory in two hours and 26 minutes.
“I already gave my all out there. If had been serving well like I did in the first set, I should have had the match. It was really difficult to break her games,” said Luksika who will next play in the Fed Cup in Kazakhstan next month.
Luksika will drop from currently No 183 to the bottom of the top 200 in the next fortnight as she failed to defend 30 points from the Australian Open qualifying rounds 12 months ago. The 23-year-old received US$50,000 despite the defeat.
However Thailand still has a representative at the Melbourne Park as Varatchaya Wongteanchai and China’s Wang Qian will take on eighth seed Vania King of the US and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the women’s doubles first round on Thursday.