Hong Kong Tennis Open: Garbine Muguruza avoids extension of the match with a win over Luksika Kumkhum
Garbine Muguruza dealt with a late surge in competition but clinched her spot in the semifinals of the Hong Kong Tennis Open Friday night. The 25-year-old Spaniard earned a win over Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand in a 6-2, 7-5 result on centre court at Victoria Park Tennis Centre.
This was a first time meeting for the two and an important point in the tournament to succeed and move on for both. The Thai looked for her first title and won two strong matches to get to this point. While neither were as strong as the world number 12, she carried plenty of tenacious energy to try and get another upset.
Muguruza was putting together another solid run in the tournament not seen since Wuhan. With another match standing in her way, the experienced 25 would try to hold off the Thai and march forward to what could be another title.
Kumkhum started with an impressive serve followed by a challenge for the fourth seed where she forced deuce twice. She was unable to gain another AD point due to the focus brought together by the Spaniard. Muguruza made her pay for that effort with a break of serve that turned things around for her. She took the next two gaining a double break as Kumkhum had double-faulted three times but was then broken herself in the sixth.
She still had a two-game lead which helped her achieve the triple break and win the eighth game on deuce scoring it on the second set point that closed things out in 46 minutes. Kumkhum had four double faults total in the set with the second serve taking the brunt of the trouble. She would find a way to change things to become very difficult for Muguruza to run off with the match.
Kumkhum once again served to open the match despite needing to go three breaks on deuce to hold. Muguruza swept her in the second and kept that pace in place through four as the Thai was also showing her strengths to allow Muguruza very little. With the score tied, it came to the fifth where holding was critical as the Spaniard forced deuce again.
Despite the challenges, she held after two break to keep her within reach. They continued until Muguruza achieved the first break of the set in the ninth to serve for the match. Kumkhum showed that she wasn’t ready to go down without a fight and impressed with great responses in the rallies for the second time. With a break in hand, the Thai scored another great finish to a rally landing the return out of Muguruza’s reach to go five-all in the set.
The crosscourt winners were becoming a huge deal for the Thai as she had Muguruza foiled at times but one got away from her handing the Spaniard a break earning it on an error from the Thai. Though she had the 6-5 lead, Kumkhum wasn’t ready to give in as she battled through every point but made the key mistake that handed the Spaniard her chance to capture the victory.
On game point, Muguruza clinched it with a lot of focus and force that became too much for Kumkhum to keep up with bringing an end to the match in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
While there was an expected fight to deal with, Kumkhum almost made it a long night for the fourth seed but held through to reach the semifinals. She’ll await the winner between top-seeded Elina Svitolina or China’s Qiang Wang who has been on a tremendous tear through her home country.