Karman Kaur Thandi, Sowjanya Bavisetti progress
Karman Kaur Thandi made a winning return to the professional circuit as she patiently worked her way to a 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Zeynep Sonmez of Turkey in the first round of the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the City Centre Tennis Complex on Wednesday.
Understandably rusty as she had not played a match since retiring in the qualifying round of the Miami event in March, the tall Karman handled the match with remarkable composure despite the fluctuating flow of the contest.
Having filled up her wiry frame a bit, there was a lot more punch to Karman’s serve and strokes. She started well, but lost the first set. But, Karman turned the match around in her favour with a high quality game, thereafter. She did take a 4-1 lead in the second set, but stayed cool to weather the storm when Zeynep equalised and had a chance to force the tie-break.
Karman accelerated nicely to clinch the second set and ran up a 5-0 lead before allowing a token game to her opponent. In the second round, Karman will play Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria, who knocked out fourth seed Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine.
Otherwise, it was a day of missed chances for the Indian players, except for the newly crowned national champion Sowjanya Bavisetti who beat Jacqueline Cabaj Awad of Sweden in straight sets.
Rutuja Bhosale failed to serve out the first set at 5-4 and paid for it against the fleet-footed Funa Kozaki of Japan, who sewed up the match in straight sets. Zeel Desai led 4-1 against Melanie Klaffner of Austria, but failed to win another game in the match.
Jennifer Luikham led 4-0 in the second set against top seed Jia-Jing Lu of China, but lost her way, even though she managed to stretch the set to the tie-break.
Riya Bhatia who had won a similar tournament in Nigeria, was able to get into her rhythm and failed to put up a better fight against Maria Timofeeva of Russia.
Two-time national champion Mahak Jain played well against second seed Diana Marcinkevica of Latvia, but could not eke out more than five games.
Singles (first round): Jia-Jing Lu (CHN) bt Jennifer Luikham 6-2, 7-6(5), Vlada Katic (ISR) bt Dan Ni Wang (CHN) 7-5, 6-3; Silvia Njiric (CRO) bt Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-2, 6-2; Funa Kozaki (JPN) bt Rutuja Bhosale 7-5, 6-3; Gergana Topalova (BUL) bt Valeriya Strakhova (UKR) 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-0; Karman Kaur Thandi bt Zeynep Sonmez (TUR) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1; Melanie Klaffner (AUT) bt Zeel Desai 6-4, 6-0; Berfu Cengiz (TUR) bt Petia Arshinkova (BUL) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Sofia Shapatava (GEO) bt Sara Yadav 6-4, 6-0; Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) bt Karin Kennel (SUI) 6-2, 6-4; Maria Timofeeva (RUS) bt Riya Bhatia 6-4, 6-2; Sowjanya Bavisetti bt Jacqueline Cabaj Awad (SWE) 6-3, 7-5; Diana Marcinkevica (LAT) bt Mahak Jain 6-2, 6-3.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)