iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Deepti Patwardhan, Hindustan Times
Pune, November 11, 2012
Ukranian teenager Elina Svitolina crashed the finals' party at the Royal Indian Open as she sent Andrea Petkovic packing in straight sets on Saturday. After Kimiko Date-Krumm beat Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the semifinal of the $125,000 WTA Challenger event, Petkovic needed to come through against her unheralded opponent to complete a marquee line-up for Sunday's final.

But Svitolina didn't let either reputation or the strong crowd support for Petkovic waver her concentration.

She was quick off the blocks and survived a strong challenge from Petkovic in the second set to win 6-2, 7-5. The 2010 junior French Open champion ranked this as her biggest triumph since the Roland Garros victory.

"I haven't realised yet that I won," said the 18-year-old, who was surprisingly calm and business-like as she edged past a battling Petkovic. "It was a great experience playing against Andrea. I was just trying to play my game and win as much points as I could."

The Ukranian fired 10 aces and converted five of the six break opportunities to book a final date with Japan's Date-Krumm.

Battle of veterans
In the semifinal that will go down in record books as the "oldest" WTA match in terms of the combined age (77), Date-Krumm, 42, survived a rocky ride against Tanasugarn, 35.

Playing with her trademark calm, the Japanese veteran was given a tough time by the moody Tanasugarn and disorderly crowd. Tanasugarn came up with something special every time she was down in the match.

But the fight back didn't last long as Date-Krumm finally converted her third match point. Victory on Sunday would make the 42-year-old the oldest singles winner on the WTA circuit. Date-Krumm, who has won one WTA title since her comeback in 2008, will beat Billie Jean King's record at 39 years, seven months and 23 days.