Ayu Fani Damayanti put up a brave fight against rising Argentine star Gisela Dulko before bowing out of the Wismilak International on Monday.
The unranked 15-year old from Bali had earned her place in the main draw in both Bali and Pattaya next February by winning a pair of special qualifying tournaments in Indonesia and Thailand. And she proved worthy of her place as she came out fighting and swiftly took a 2-0 lead.
Showing no nerves at playing the biggest match of her life against the number seven seed, she pressured Dulko with a big forehand and strong groundstrokes. Although Dulko broke back and then took a 3-2 lead when Ayu double-faulted, the Indonesian levelled again at 3-3.
But it was then that Ayu began to make several errors, double-faulting four times in her next two service games and conceding the last 12 points of the set.
In the second set, Dulko broke to lead 2-0 on her third break point, and a winning return gave Dulko another break to lead 5-1. But the match wasn’t over, as Ayu held two break points and made Dulko battle hard to close out the match, with the 19-year old finally claiming victory on her fifth match point.
Although she lost, Ayu demonstrated that she has a great deal of talent. She has a big forehand and solid groundstrokes, and once she improves her serve and finds a little more consistency she should be able to make an impression on the WTA Tour.
“I made some double-faults and that made me nervous and I got negative about my serve,” said Ayu. “I got slippery hands. But apart from that and my smash I thought I played well and I hope I can play well in the doubles. I won’t be so nervous then because I have a partner!
“Although I lost it was a good experience for me, and it made me think that maybe I can play well on the Tour.”
Dulko was impressed with Ayu, and satisfied with the way she had played in her opening match.
“She began very well,” said Dulko. “I think she can have a good future. She has a good forehand, but I understand she was maybe a little bit nervous playing here. But I think she can be a really good player.
“And I enjoyed my first match in Bali. I was really looking forward to playing here. It’s a very nice place. It’s beautiful, and it was great to play on the centre court and the crowd was good.”
Before Ayu took to the court, the tournament received its first surprise when Saori Obata was beaten 6-1 6-2 by Kristina Brandi.
Saori likes Bali, and not for the usual reasons such as the weather, the beach and the luxurious Grand Hyatt resort where the tournament is played. She likes it because the last two years she has played at the Wismilak International she has reached the quarter-finals (2002) and the semi-finals (2003).
But this year she was never in contention, falling behind 3-0 and failing to hold serve in the entire match. The only success she had was to break Brandi’s serve in the fourth game of the match, and then break her twice to love early in the second set.
source : www.wismilaktennis.com