WTA Mumbai Open: Rutuja Bhosale, Shrivalli Bhamidipaty win; Ankita Raina out | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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WTA Mumbai Open: Rutuja Bhosale, Shrivalli Bhamidipaty win; Ankita Raina out

By, Mumbai
Feb 06, 2024 11:21 PM IST

Rutuja won in straight sets and Shrivalli rallied to beat Nao Hibino of Japan as the reached the last 16 of the $125,000 event.

It was another promising day for Indian tennis at the $125,000 WTA Mumbai Open on Tuesday as Rutuja Bhosale and Shrivalli Bhamidipaty advanced to the singles round of 16 and Prarthana Thombare and her Dutch partner Arianne Hartono won a hard-fought opening round doubles match.

Rutuja Bhosale was the first of the lot to take the court and she was clinical in a 6-4, 7-5 victory against Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech
Rutuja Bhosale was the first of the lot to take the court and she was clinical in a 6-4, 7-5 victory against Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech

India No.1 Ankita Raina, however, bowed out in the first round, losing in straight sets to American eighth seed Katie Volynets. Sahaja Yamalapalli stole the spotlight on the opening day of the tournament, being played at the Cricket Club of India, by knocking out top seed Kayla Day. On day two, it was Rutuja and Shrivalli who brought cheer to the local fans with contrasting wins.

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Rutuja was the first of the lot to take the court and she was clinical in a 6-4, 7-5 victory against Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech. The 27-year-old had suffered a freak injury on Monday, twisting her ankle while heading for a practice session. She went on to lose her doubles opener with Ankita but recovered to take the court on Tuesday.

“It's a special feeling to play at home. It's awesome that the tournament is back as it gives a lot of opportunities to the girls to see where we are and to climb up in the rankings,” said the Asian Games mixed doubles gold medallist after her win.

Playing her first match at the WTA level, Shrivalli was up against second seed Nao Hibino of Japan. The 22-year-old had shown her calibre through the two qualifying rounds and impressed again in a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) victory.

Nao, ranked world No.94, began strongly and broke serve twice to take the first set, but Shrivalli showed character to turn things around. The world No.521 found her range from the baseline and won plenty of easy points with her serve. After taking the match into the decider, she was close to going a double break up, but Nao won a marathon game to remain in the contest.

The Japanese then drew level to force a tie-break despite needing a medical timeout midway through the third set. But once again, the Indian youngster remained composed to bounce back and close out the win.

“After the first set, I told myself I'm going to keep fighting harder. That’s what I'm here for and that's what I have been doing. I kept believing in myself and I wanted to make her work for every point. I’m proud of the way I handled myself because in the end what matters is who holds their nerve better,” said Shrivalli, who is the national champion in singles and doubles. She will face Russian world No.134 Alina Korneeva next.

Ankita, ranked 223, was facing a player 110 spots above her. The 31-year-old, who had lost in the opening round of the ITF W50 event in Pune two weeks ago, was left with another disappointing result as Volynets completed a 6-4, 6-2 win.

There were lengthy rallies throughout the match but a common theme was the unforced errors from Ankita’s racket. In the first set, she did well to draw level after being broken early but lost five points in a row on serve while trailing 4-5. In the second set, she broke to get 2-1 ahead but lost five games in a row from there.

Volynets remained patient and picked her spots smartly to draw mistakes from her opponent. Up next for her is a clash with Rutuja. Prarthana and Arianne held firm in the match tie-break to win 6-4, 2-6, 10-6 against fourth seeds Luksika Kumkhum and Peangtarn Plipuech of Thailand.

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