The two Indian players on show in early first round action made contrasting exits in the L&T Mumbai Open WTA $125K Series, organized by MSLTA and CCI and played at the CCI courts, here, on Wednesday.
While wild card entrant Karman Thandi lost an error-prone game to top seed Chinese Zheng Saisai, 2-6, 4-6, qualifier Pranjala Yadlapalli could not sustain her early dominance and went down to fifth seed Luksika Khumkhum of Thailand 6-3, 5-7, 1-6.
There was an upset in the first round, with fourth seed Olga Danilovic making her exit, losing to Danka Kovinic 6-4, 5-7, 0-6.
In second round action, last year’s runner-up and second seed Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia had an easy 6-4, 6-2 win over Shabina Sharipova (UZB).
Qualifier Pranjala Yadlapalli raised good cheer among the partisan crowd as she dominated the first set and raced to a 5-2 lead in the second against the fifth seed from Thailand Lusika Khum Khum. However, while serving for the match at 5-3, the 19-year-old faltered and though she saved six break points, could not escape the break of serve.
Lusika’s game was suddenly on a high as Pranjala’s shoulders drooped and an easy hold for 5-5 and another break saw Khum Khum serving for the set, which she held with ease to take the match into the decider.
Pranjala was clearly out of steam in the decider and went down tamely at 1-6.
Earlier, Karman Thandi, after a positive start, went into self-destruct mode as a slew of errors saw her lose 10 games in a row and she was staring at defeat, 2-6 and 0-4 down. The youngster’s fightback, though a bit late, was still a treat to watch as she powered in her serves and hammered her forehands and back hands. Karman held for 4-1 and then saved a match point while serving, for 5-2. Getting into a sweet rhythm, Karman broke the top seed and then held to raise visions of a grand fightback at 4-5. However, the experienced Chinese held her nerve to serve out the match in one hour and 17 minutes.
“I missed a couple of short balls and chances to finish the point in the first set. I was getting better in the second set but it was too late,” said Karman.
“I couldn’t find my momentum and I also need to work on my fitness,” she added.
Top seed Zheng also had kind words for Karman and said, “Karman is strong and she has a bright future. She should attack more.”
1st round: 1-Saisai Zheng (CHN) bt Karman Thandi (IND) 6-2, 6-4; Danka Kovinic (MNE) bt 4-Olga Danilovic (SRB) 4-6 ,7-5 ,6-0; 6-Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) bt Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-3, 6-2; 5-Luksika Khum Khum (Thai) bt Pranjala Yadlapalli 3-6, 7-5, 61.
2nd round: Valentini Grammatikopoulou (GRE) bt Deniz Khazaniuk (ISR) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; 3-Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) bt Sabina Sharipova (UZB) 6-4, 6-2; Irina Khromacheva (RUS) bt Urszula Radwanska (POL) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2;