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Zvonareva successfully defends Pattaya Open title

Chiang Mai Cricket

Zvonareva successfully defends Pattaya Open title

Staff reporters and AP

Russia’s Vera Zvonareva successfully defended her Pattaya Open title last Sunday after beating hometown favorite Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Zvonareva unleashes a powerful forehand during the opening set of the singles final at the 2010 PTT Pattaya Women’s Open. (Ariyawat Nuamsawad)

The top-seeded Russian collected her 10th career title and avenged her loss to the Thai in the second round at Wimbledon two years ago. She also became the first player to win the singles title two years in a row in the 19-year history of the event.

Later, in the doubles final, there was something for the local fans to feel more upbeat about as Tamarine teamed up with Marina Erakovic of New Zealand to down the Russian pairing of Anna Chakvetadze and Ksenia Pervak.

Zvonareva, who is on the comeback trail following ankle surgery in 2009, was in great form all week and only dropped one set throughout the tournament, in her semi final victory over third seed Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Her quarter final match-up against Austria’s powerful left hander Sybille Bammer (a previous winner in Pattaya) was seen as a potential ‘banana skin’ on her route to the final, but the 25 year old from Moscow was simply imperious as she dispatched the current world no 50 in straight sets, 6-0, 7-6.

Tamarine Tanasugarn put up a good fight in her third appearance in the final of the Pattaya Open. (Photo/Ariyawat Nuamsawad)

Her semi final match against Shvedova was a closer affair and went to a deciding set with Zvonareva finally prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to book her place in Sunday’s final.

In the other half of the draw, Tamarine Tanasugarn found herself the sole Thai player left in the tournament after wild cards Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, Suchanun Viratprasert and Varatchaya Wongteanchai were all eliminated in the first round. Despite having the hopes of the home fans resting squarely on her shoulders, Tamarine’s progress to the final was simply serene and included a great victory over the number 2 seed, Germany’s Sabine Lisicki in the second round, and a straight sets demolition of former world ranked number 5 player, Anna Chakvetadze in the quarter finals. Tamarine cemented her place in Sunday’s showdown with another emphatic display in the semi finals against Sesil Karatantcheva, dismissing the Kazakh player in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.

In the final itself, played out in searing conditions in front of a packed crowd at the Dusit Thani tennis center, Zvonareva began by unleashing a mix of shots to keep her Thai opponent off balance and jumped to a 3-0 lead. With a 5-2 lead, the Russian had two set points at 15-40 on Tamarine’s serve but missed an easy backhand to lose the first before the Thai fought off the second with a good serve.

Tamarine held to follow at 3-5 and broke the next game for 4-5 as the Russian served three double faults. However, instead of seizing the opportunity, Tamarine sent two successive backhands to the net to drop the first set in 59 minutes.

Errors again plagued Tamarine in the second set as she was down a break at 2-4. But Zvonareva handed the break right back, serving a double fault and hit a backhand wide for the Thai to follow at 3-4.

Despite some disagreement on line calls, the Russian held the crucial ninth game to take a lead at 5-4 and forced the Thai into errors in the next game. She closed out the match on the second match point as Tamarine served a double fault. It was the Thai’s third loss in the singles final at the Pattaya Open.

Tanasugarn was magnanimous in defeat however and praised her Russian opponent.

“She played very well and hardly made any unforced errors,” she said. “I played better in the second set and knew I had to attack to win. I would have loved to have won for the fans but Vera was too strong.”

For her part Zvonareva commented that she was delighted to have successfully defended her title. “It was a very close match. Tammy’s been playing great throughout the tournament and Thailand should be proud of having such a great player. It has been an incredible week, I had great support from Russian fans and it was a wonderful atmosphere with the Thai fans cheering Tamarine. Very tough for me to defend my title. I hope to come back next year and try again,” said the Russian star.

Zvonareva picked up US$37,000 (1,258,000 baht) plus 280 points for her victory while Tamarine received US$19,000 (646,000 baht) plus 200 points.

In the women’s double final, Tamarine and her partner Marina Erakovic teamed up well and showed some fine net play to beat Russians Anna Chakvetadze and Ksenia Pervak. The Russians had the better of the opening exchanges, but once Tanasugarn and Erakovic got into their stride the match quickly turned in their favour. They overhauled their opponents to take the first set 7–5 and then walked away with the second set 6-1 to win the match in a little over one hour. In doing so Tamarine became the first player to successfully defend the doubles title after winning it last year with Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.

Chiang Mai Cricket

 Graeme Monaghan

The WDC Hilltribe school ran out easy winners over the Gymkhana Juniors last Saturday at the Gymkhana Club in the Under-15 CMSCA competition. Having won the toss WDC decided to bat first and, despite losing two early wickets, set about compiling a respectable total of 112 runs off the required fifteen overs. They were assisted, in no small part by Arser Jailergoo (Mike) who flailed a quick-fire 16 from only seven balls.

Choo pulls the ball for 4 runs during the WDC Hilltribe innings.

Some fine middle order batting from Bonchooai Baychaygoo and Cherchoo Bengkamta (Choo) saw WDC to their final total. In reply Gym Juniors lost their top order batsmen cheaply, and only Teeyot Sairja (Yot) managed to put up some resistance. The bowling proved to be too good for the Gymkhana boys with Bonchooai showing his class by taking 3 wickets for 6 runs and Arser Jailergoo mopping up 4 lower order batsmen for 6 runs.

Gymkhana Juniors were all out for 37 in the 13th over, giving WDC victory by 75 runs. The win has sent WDC to the top of the season’s table.