Mumbai: Teenagers Karman Kaur Thandi and Zeel Desai made first round exits at the L&T Mumbai Open WTA125K Series at the Cricket Club of India tennis courts on Monday.
The duo, who had got wild cards into the main round along with Ankita Raina and Rutuja Bhosale, were knocked out in straight sets by superior opponents despite spirited play. The Indian doubles pair of Ankita and Rutuja too were knocked out in first round after straight sets loss 4-6, 3-6 to Victoria Rodriguez and Bibiane Schoofs.
Karman, who became the highest-ranked Indian at 284 earlier in the day, gave her opponent Dalila Jakupovic some fight but went down 2-6, 4-6 eventually to unseeded Slovenian in a little over an hour on Centre Court. The 18-year-old Zeel ranked 709th tried her best to match the 22-year-old Zhao before slumping to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat in an hour and seven minutes.
“I wasn’t good on the serves, lost too many service points. I was better in the second set, was up 30-0 up with 4-4 score but my serve let me down. She was consistent and played good drop shots. I also made some mistakes,” Karman said.
The Punjab girl was happy with her upsurge in rankings and felt she will gain a lot from this experience. “I have achieved my best ranking and it was a good experience to play in this big tournament at home. I am still playing the doubles on Tuesday with Pranjala Yadlapalli so still alive in the tournament,” she added.
The doubles pair of Ankita and Rutuja fought valiantly against Victoria of Mexico and Bibiane of the Netherlands. The Indian pair looked down and out in first set at 2-5 but the duo called their coach and went on to break the serve and hold later to reduce deficit but couldn’t maintain the tempo.
The duo, however, came out blazing in the second second with 3-1 lead that included a break but couldn’t hold their serve to lose advantage and trailed 3-4. The home duo sought coaches assistance again but it didn’t make any difference as they lost both games thereafter to end their doubles campaign.
Meanwhile, eight-seeded Russian Irina Khromacheva became the first casualty going down in three grueling sets to unseeded Sabina Sharipova of Uzbekistan 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3).
Russia’s Valentyna Ivakhnenko defeated Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova 6-3, 6-3 in another first round match between unseeded players.
First round: 7-Carol Zhao (CAN) bt Zeel Desai (IND) 6-3, 6-1; Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) bt Karman Kaur Thandi (IND) 6-2, 6-4; Sabina Sharipova (UZB) bt 8-Irina Khromacheva (RUS) 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3); Valentyna Ivakhnenko (RUS) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3, 6-3.