Third seed Sema in shock exit

PHILOSOPHICAL Russian Ksenia Lykina was not getting carried away despite claiming the No. 3 seed for the second year running at the Launceston International.

Twelve months after defeating Chanel Simmonds in straight sets on the same Regional Tennis Centre court, Lykina needed one more and a tense tie-breaker to claim the biggest scalp of the tournament so far - Japan's Erika Sema 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).

``Ranking does not play - a player plays,'' explained the 22-year-old from the western city of Kazan.

``Ranking means nothing when it is just you and the ball on court. Everyone can make mistakes. Even Sharapova makes mistakes.

``Every match is different. I played good today, tomorrow something could go wrong. You never know. That's women's tennis.

``I do like this court . . . but it was easier last year!''

In a bizarre but captivating final set, Sema levelled from 4-0 down before successive service breaks took the score to 5-5 and successive holds confirmed the tie-breaker. Lykina claimed the decider with her first match point after which her coach summed up the drama with the observation: ``I think my hair become grey very soon.''

``When I was 4-0 up she played some good shots because she had nothing to lose,'' added Lykina, who will play Yuxuan Zhang in round 2.

 ``She played two good games, then we had two even games and I lost those as well but I was not thinking about it and just kept playing.

``At 4-4 it's tough when you think it's going away from you but then I calmed down and just kept playing my game. It just had to finish in a tie-break. I just fought for every ball and got the match. Now I am very tired.''

Another seed to go out on day 2 was Sydney's Monique Adamczak, the 30-year-old fourth seed retiring through illness having lost a first-set tie-breaker to Melburnian Tammi Patterson and trailing 3-0 in the second.

``I did not know Monique was not feeling too flash so it came as a surprise,'' 23-year-old Patterson said. ``She did not show anything, she just slowed down a bit.

``We're good friends, so I don't want to be too excited. We grew up playing together at the AIS. But a win is a win. I was just focusing on what I had to do so getting through was important.''

Adamczak, a losing finalist at Burnie last week, had beaten Patterson in the wildcard playoffs for this year's Australian Open but the tables turned yesterday in a fluctuating first set.

``They were all tough points in the tie-break and in the last few I just went for it and got the winners,'' Patterson added.

Patterson will today face compatriot Viktorija Rajicic who yesterday overcame Karolina Wlodarczak 7-5, 6-1. 

Top seed Olivia Rogowska, of Melbourne, halted the tumble of top players with a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over American Alexandra Kiick, to book a second-round date with compatriot Bojana Bobusic.

The West Australian overcame first- and third-set stumbles to beat Japan's Misa Eguchi 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

``I did not really know much about her and probably did not play as well as I would have liked,'' said Bobusic, who led Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 5-4 and 30-15 in round 1 of this year's Australian Open but failed to win another game.

Becoming something of a regular visitor to Tasmania, having played multiple times in Launceston, Burnie and Hobart, the 25-year-old led 5-0 in the decider before clinching victory in the ninth game.

``Losing three games in a row in the third you do start thinking about it so I was glad to be able to close it out.

``I lost to Olivia in the semis at Burnie. I've played her a few times and she's beaten me every time but hopefully this will be different.

``I love it here, the courts are good and the weather is great. It's a bit warmer than Burnie, which I like.''

Sema's sister, No. 6 seed Yurika, progressed with a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Australian Priscilla Hon and will play Shuko Aoyama, a 7-5, 6-4 conqueror of Aussie Jessica Moore, in an all-Japanese round 2 encounter.

Brit Emily Webley-Smith came from a set down to beat Akiko Omae, of Japan, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to book a second-round match with Liechtenstein's Olympic flagbearer Stephanie Vogt.

Australian Azra Hadzic will play compatriot Sacha Jones today after overcoming Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4.

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