WTA Mumbai Open: Thandi-Yadlapalli through to quarters

Karman Kaur Thandi and Prajnala Yadlapalli combined smartly, and stayed strong in the climax, to get the first win for India, in the L&T $125,000 WTA Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Karman was strong from the back court and Pranjala was rock solid at the net, in scripting a memorable victory.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Karman Kaur Thandi and Prajnala Yadlapalli combined smartly, and stayed strong in the climax, to get the first win for India, in the L&T $125,000 WTA Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here on Tuesday. In a dramatic thriller, featuring all young players, aged 19 or less, Karman Kaur and Pranjala converted their tenth matchpoint for a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Naiktha Bains of Australia and Fanny Stollar of Hungary in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Karman was strong from the back court and Pranjala was rock solid at the net, in scripting a memorable victory. While Pranjala had failed to win a game against Ana Bogdan of Hungary in the qualifying event, Karman had lost her first round in the main draw, as she did not bring out her best game. There was a good possibility of a singles win as well this day, but Rutuja Bhosale failed to capitalise on a fine chance and bowed out to qualifier Deniz Khazaniku of Israel in the first round.

The former Asian junior champion, the 21-year-old Rutuja had won a round in the same event as a 16-year-old in Pune, in 2012. After winning a three-setter against Korean Lee So-Ra, Rutuja had been beaten by the eventual champion Elina Svitolina, who is World No. 6.

Rutuja was perhaps in great hurry to show case her improvement and strong game, gained with diligent training in the US apart from stints with coach Hemant Bendrey. Her injudicious approach cost her the match, as the wiry and athletic Rutuja was unable to play a consistently good level of tennis. A few loose points and anxious swings saw Rutuja trying to catch up all the time, right from the start, even though she broke her opponent three times in the match.

In trying to hit her way out of trouble, Rutuja only gave a good rhythm for Deniz who was accustomed to the centre court, having played both her qualifying matches on it. There was some excitement, as Rutuja fought back from 1-5 in the second set, but it was too little too late in the match. Khazaniuk had trouble with the chair umpire and referee, as she sought on-court coaching but had not followed the procedure of signing a specific form. She was annoyed but channelised her anger to play a better quality game.

Earlier, in a lively opening match of the day, Amandine Hesse of France, bounced back from a sedate start when she trailed 3-5, to outwit fourth seed Arina Rodionova of Australia in two intense sets. Qualifier and second seed, Ana Bogdan of Romania looked increasingly venemous in outplaying Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico for the loss of two games. Ana has dropped a mere three games in all so far in winning three matches.

Prarthana Thombare, who has been progressing steadily in doubles, after the Asian Games bronze in Incheon and the Olympics experience in Rio with Sania Mirza, could not give a good account of her game in partnership with Valentyna Ivakhnenko of Russia.

The results: Singles (first round): Lu Jia-Jing (Chn) bt Dalma Galfi (Hun) 6-2, 6-2; Amandine Hesse (Fra) bt Arina Rodionova (Aus) 7-6(2), 6-3; Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) bt Rutuja Bhosale 6-4, 6-3; Ana Bogdan (Rou) bt Victoria Rodriguez (Mex) 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) & Veronika Kudermetova (Rus) bt Riya Bhatia & Natasha Palha 6-1, 6-2; Junri Namigata (Jpn) & Peangtarn Plipuech (Tha) bt Valentyna Ivakhnenko (Rus) & Sabina Sharipova (Uzb) 6-1, 6-4; Julia Glushko (Isr) & Priscilla Hon (Aus) bt Hiroko Kuwata (Jpn) & Prarthana Thombare 6-2, 6-3; Karman Kaur Thandi & Pranjala Yadlapalli bt Naiktha Bains (Aus) & Fanyi Stollar (Hun) 6-3, 7-5; Dalila Jakupovic (Slo) & Irina Khromacheva (Rus) bt Ksenia Palkina (Kgz) & Zhang Ling (Hkg) 6-2, 6-0.