• Luksika Kumkhum and Nudnida Luangnam in the doubles first round on Wednesday.

Luksika targets Aust Open main draw

sports November 09, 2017 01:00

By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam

The Nation

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Hua Hin - A RESURGENT LUKSIKA Kumkhum is poised to cause a stir in her last two tournaments of the year in hope of earning direct entry into the Australian Open in January.



The 24-year-old world No 124 needs to reach at least a semi-final this week and next week in Taiwan for a chance to crack the top 110, which will guarantee a main-draw spot in the January major.

“These two weeks will be important for me. If I go deep in each tournament I can play the Australian main draw. I’m getting very close now,” said the Chanthaburi-born player, who is currently in round two of the US$125,000 EA Hua Hin Championship at the True Arena complex.

After reaching a career-best |No 85 in 2014, Luksika has been held back by wrist and shoulder injuries which saw her ranking fall outside the top 200 earlier this year.

However back-to-back US$25,000 wins here in July and in Nonthaburi in August plus the individual gold medal in Malaysia came to the rescue, also ending a title drought reaching back to China 2015.

“It’s been a long time since I won a title. So winning two events at home really boosted my confidence,” said Luksika who went on to reach her second WTA semi-final in South Korea two months ago followed by an upset win over Elena Vesina of Russia two weeks later in Hong Kong.

“If you notice, I always play well at the end of the year. For some reason, I have good results at the start and at the end of each year,” 

The Thai No 1 beat Fanny Stollar of Hungary 6-1 6-4 in the first round for a daunting task against Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, who beat former No 2 Vera Zvonareva of Russia in straight sets , in the second round yesterday. The Thai was beaten in straight sets in their only meeting in Taiwan four years back.

“She hits big and serves big. This will be a test for me after I have been working hard on my physical conditioning. I want to test where my level is right now,” said  Luksika who teamed up with Nudnida Luangnam to beat Peangtarn Plipuech and Nicha Lertpitaksinchai 6-4 2-6 10-12 in the doubles first round on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile in the second round of the Hua Hin Championship yesterday, Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland upset second seed Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 6-1 6-1. Top seed Wang Qiang of China was ousted by Ksenia Lykina of Russia. Fourth seed Hseih Su-wei of Taiwan beat Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 6-1 6-1.