Mumbai: Rutuja Bhosale gave a good account of herself but went down to the higher ranked Deniz Khazaniuk in the L&T Mumbai Open WTA 125K series at the Cricket Club of India tennis courts here on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old who made a comeback to professional tennis this year after graduatind with a degree in business from the US, stretched her 271-ranked opponent before going down 4-6, 3-6 after over 75 minutes contest.
She had played in the15K and 25K series on the ITF tour pocketing two 15K titles this year. Participating in 125K series after getting a wild card was a huge stepping stone for the 577 ranked player and Rutuja showed she can belong here.
Despite a poor turnout she enthused the spectators with powerful forehands, backhand winners and fighting spirit but her weak serves and unforced errors let her down on the day.
Rutuja had a nervy start but held her first serve but played wayward shots on his second serve to concede a break. She fought back to earn first break and level 2-2. But her serves were no problem for her better ranked Israeli opponent. Deniz made second break to slide down Rutuja's charge.
But the Pune lass didn't panic and kept her powerful forehand going and once advanced cleverly to force fault and then wrapped up game with a forehand on the volley to level 3-3.
But again her struggle on serve game continued and she made couple of unforced errors to concede third break. An ace served well for Khazaniuk as she kept Rutuja guessing and held on to serve to get 5-3 lead. Rutuja was weak again on the serve and got punished to trail 0-40 but an inspirational comeback laced with crosscourt volleys helped her to hold the serve for just second time in the set and reduce deficit to 4-5. A powerful backhand winner kept Rutuja firing but two balls into the net didn't help her cause and she lost first set 4-6.
Deniz continued attacking Rutuja’s serves and earned first break in the second set. She surged to 4-0 lead and it looked all over for the Indian player before she held a couple of serves and came up with a break later to make 3-5 but Deniz broke back to take the match.
In a late match, Karman Kaur Thandi and Pranjala Yadlapalli advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Aussie-Hungarian pair of Naiktha Bains and Fanny Stollar.
Olympian Prarthana Thombare made an exit, when she and her Japanese partner Hiroko Kuwata lost to Julia Glushko of Israel and Priscilla Hon of Australia 2-6, 3-6 in the doubles.