HONG KONG: Sabine Lisicki justified her top seeding by winning the inaugural WTA Hong Kong Open 7-5, 6-3 against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Sunday.
The German had endured a lean time on tour since losing the Wimbledon final to Marion Bartoli last year, tumbling out of the world’s top 30.
Lisicki only accepted a wildcard into the Hong Kong tournament at the last minute after US Open semi-finalist Peng Shuai and world number seven Eugenie Bouchard pulled out. It proved to be a move that paid off handsomely.
“I’m very happy,” said Lisicki. “Especially because it was such a spontaneous decision. We literally decided [to play] three or four days before the tournament started.”
The scoreline may say it was a straight-sets victory, but it was far from straightforward in an error-strewn match at the Victoria Park centre court.
The Czech third seed had seemed destined to avenge her second-round defeat to the German at Wimbledon this year when she raced into a 5-1 lead in the first set, breaking Lisicki’s serve twice.
But Lisicki, who at that point was managing to put only a woeful 40% of her first serves into play, slowly got into her stride to spark a remarkable run in which she broke back twice to level at 5-5.
Asked by reporters if she had thought about letting the set slip away at 1-5, Lisicki gave a robust response
“No. Never. I always fight for every single point no matter what the score is.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2014.