Improved Hampton has top seed in sights

DAVID LONG
Last updated 09:39 04/01/2013
Jamie Hampton
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
BEST RESULT: American Jamie Hampton defeated Kiwi hope Marina Erakovic on her path to the ASB Classic semifinals.

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The past couple of months have been a new chapter in the career of American ASB Classic semifinalist Jamie Hampton.

Up until then it looked as if her career was going nowhere and she would be yet another American player who'd hover around the upper reaches of top 100 without ever achieving much.

But as she showed last night against Kiki Bertens from the Netherland in her 6-1 6-7 6-1, this is the start of the big time for her.

She ended 2012 by winning four matches in both Seoul and Tokyo before making it to her first ever WTA quarterfinal a week later in Osaka.

That form from October has continued and she has already gone further in a tournament that she's ever done before, the only unfortunate thing about her time in Auckland is that she came out on the same side of the draw as world No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who she plays today in the semifinals.

They have played each other three times in the past and as Hampton's ranking is 66 places below Radwanska it isn't surprising to see that she lost all of them.

"She is a very tricky player," Hampton said of her opponent.

"She's beaten me all three times, so I know her game and I know what to expect.

"I have been a bit patchy in my last few matches and I know that that's not going to cut it against her, so I am going to have to step it up.

"I am going to have to play aggressive and that is my game, but I am going to have to execute, I am going to have to come forward and not be afraid."

However, those previous defeats to Radwanska was when she was the old Hampton, she has now turned a new leaf and playing at levels never seen from her before.

"There is nothing that I haven't improved on," she said.

"I have improved my fitness, shot selection, forehand, serve, mentally and keeping my emotions in check.

"Last year I was unlucky with my back, I had an injury at the French Open so I was out between then and Wimbledon and then that and the US Open.

"I have put in a lot of hard work and it's nice to see continuous results."

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