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Tough lessons for Indian wildcards at Mumbai Open tennis tournament

Indian wildcards Karman Kaur Thandi and Zeel Desai crashed out in the first round of the singles in the $125,000 Mumbai Open WTA tennis tournament

tennis Updated: Nov 20, 2017 22:54 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai Open,Mumbai OPen tennis,WTA
The players participating in the Mumbai Open WTA tennis tournament pose in front of the Gateway of India during a promotional event on Monday. (Pratik Chorge/ HT Photo)

It took just 2 hours and 15 minutes for India’s challenge in singles section of the Mumbai Open WTA 125k Series event to get halved as Zeel Desai and Karman Kaur Thandi lost in the first round.

Four Indians had got wildcards in the biggest women’s tennis event being held in the country in recent times.

Zeel Desai, the 18-year-old junior from Ahmedabad who will be stepping into the professional circuit next year, had a tough task against seventh seed Carol Zhao of Canada and must have got an idea of the amount of work she will have to put in if she has to succeed in the senior circuit. Zeel lost 3-6, 1-6 in one hour and seven minutes in the opening match of the day on centre court at the Cricket Club of India.

Karman, who started the day with the news that she has moved up to 284 to become India’s highest-ranked player ahead of Ankita Raina (293), had the best chance of causing an upset, playing against the 252-ranked Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia.

The 19-year-old from Delhi played some good tennis in the second set before bowing out 2-6, 4-6 in 1 hour 08 minutes. To add to the setbacks, Rutuja Bhosale and Ankita Raina lost to Victoria Rodriquez of Mexico and Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands in the lone doubles match of the day.

Though it was a disappointing day for the Indians, the two youngsters played well on occasions. They started tentatively and in trying to be aggressive, allowed errors to creep in.

Zeel, who was ranked 18th in the world among juniors a few months back, lost her service thrice in the first six games. Though she broke her opponent’s service twice, the 2-4 deficit she ended up with was not easy to bridge at this level especially against the 22-year-old Zhao, who is ranked 149th to Zeel’s 790. The 18-year-old Indian lost the first set 3-6. She was broken twice again at the start of the second set and could manage to win only one game thereafter.

The crucial juncture for Karman in her match against Jakupovic was in the second set when she fought back from 1-3 down to go 4-3 ahead. Her Slovenian rival, after getting some tips from her coach during a break, upped her game a notch at the right time to close out the match and seal a place in the Round of 16.

India’s hopes in singles now rest on Ankita Raina and Rutuja Bhosale.



7-Carol Zhao (CAN) bt Zeel Desai (IND) 6-3, 6-1

Karman Kaur Thandi (IND) lost to Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) 6-2, 6-4

Irina Khromacheva (RUS) lost to Sabina Sharipova (UZB) 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3)

Mayo Hibi (JPN) lost to Alize Lim (FRA) 6-1, 6-1

Marie Bouzkova (CZE) lost to Valentyna Ivakhnenko (RUS) 6-3, 6-3

Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) lost to Fanny Stollar (HUN) 6-4, 6-3

Laura Robson (GBR) lost to Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 7-5, 6-4.


Rutuja Bhosale (IND)/Ankita Raina (IND) lost to Victoria Rodriguez (MEX)/Bibiane Schoofs (NED) 6-4, 6-3.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 22:54 IST