Rutuja Bhosale ready to take the big leap

The Asian Age.  | Irfan Haji

Sports, In Other sports

The 21-year-old is the only state player in Mumbai Open, and is taking no pressure when competing against quality players.

Four Indian Wild Cards Zeel Desai, Rutuja Bhosale, Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi after the main draw ceremony at the L&T Mumbai Open: The $125k WTA Tournament to be played at CCI courts from today to 26 November.

Since her comeback from the US earlier this year, Rutuja Bhosale has been on the upward curve. She won two $15K titles on the ITF tour in Aurangabad and Huahin. After the 21-year-old has gain experience by competing in $15K and $25K tournaments, she is now ready for the big leap into the L&T Mumbai Open WTA $125K Series, at Cricket Club of India Tennis Courts from today.

The Pune lass has received a Wild Card along with three other Indian players Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi and Zeel Desai, to compete in the main draw and will take on much higher ranked player Deniz Khazaniuk in the first round today. Rutuja currently has a World ranking of 604 as against her 23-year-old Israeli opponent who is ranked 274 in the world. She will also partner India’s No. 1 ranked singles women’s player Ankita Raina in the doubles.

“Since my comeback from the US college (A&M Texas University where she graduated in Business) where I was for four years I have been playing in 15K and 25K tournaments. It is a big step for me so I will go out there and play my game,” Rutuja said here on Sunday.

Her opponent Deniz has qualified for the main draw with commanding 6-1, 6-0 and 7-5, 6-4 wins in the two qualifying matches here. It means Deniz has two games behind her and will know the conditions well.

“I am going to learn so much from this (Mumbai Open). It will help me train harder. I competed well with  one of the partcipants here recently so I am confident. If I can compete with these girls right now, in the coming years, I can hang around with them,” she added.

The lanky player who trains hard under Hemant Bendre at PYC Gymkhana in Pune, said she is taking no pressure going into the tournament.

 “I am going to take a lot of positives from here and not going to take pressure on me. I will take in as much things,” she said. She also felt such tournaments in India will help fill the gap between Sania Mirza and rest of women’s tennis players in India. “It will help us know where we stand against the top players. It will help us gain points and get up in rankings and go further by playing in $50K tournaments and onwards,” she said.

Another Maharashtra tennis player Prarthana Thombare, who partnered Sania Mirza at Rio Olympics, will partner Japanese Hiroko Kuwata in the doubles category.