India’s Shrivalli and Zeel impress with shock wins in L&T Mumbai Open WTA 125K

LT Mumbai Open WTA 125KMumbai: Indian challengers Shrivalli Bhamidipaty and Zeel Desai put on a fantastic show, causing major upsets in first round qualifying matches, as top-level tennis returned to Mumbai after a hiatus of six years.

The 22-year-old Indian Shrivalli making her debut on the WTA Tour showed remarkable poise and confidence as she came from behind to knockout second seed Valentini Grammatikopoulou from Greece winning in straight sets in the L&T Mumbai Open WTA 125K match on Centre Court at the Cricket Club of India on Saturday.

The 26-year-old 117-ranked Greek player started powerfully and raced to a 3-1 lead. But Shrivalli, the Indian National champion in both singles and doubles, showed tremendous resilience and won the five games in succession to wrap up the first set. That win further boosted her confidence as she started to serve stronger and dominated the rallies and went on to take the second for a satisfying 6-3, 6-2 win.

In another contest, Wild Card entrant Zeel brushed aside the challenge of another Greece’s player Sapfo Sakellaridi, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. Playing in conditions that were familiar to her, Desai was out of the blocks fast, and didn’t allow her Greek opponent, who was seeded seventh, any scope for a comeback.

“Honestly, since it was my debut game, I was just keen, going out there and having a good game. I just wanted to play my best tennis and use my strengths to the best of my ability. The organisers (MSLTA and WTA) are doing a great job and we now have a lot of women’s tournaments, which is encouraging us to work harder. And we have also been climbing up the ranks, and I think tournaments like the WTA L&T Mumbai Open 125K allows us to compete at a higher level, which is good for us,” Shrivali said, after winning her debut game on the WTA tour.

Unseeded Vaidehi Chaudhari of India also advanced to the second round as (IND) as her opponent, fourth seed Dejana Radanovic after trailing 2-3 retired hurt.

However, two Indians who were awarded wild card failed to raise to the challenge and crashed out. Madhurima Sawant lost to Korea’s Sohyun Park 1-6, 1-6, while Sameeksha Shroff was outplayed by France’s Amandine Hesse, who charged to a 6-1, 6-0 win.

Meanwhile, Lina Glushko of Israel produced a gallant fight to score an upset win against fifth seed En-Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei snatching a 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(5) win to advance to the second round.

Results – Qualifiers (Round-1):

1-Himeno Sakatsume (JPN) bt Akanksha Nitture (IND) 6-3, 6-1;
Shrivalli Bhamidipaty (IND) bt 2-Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-3, 6-2;
WC-Zeel Desai (IND) bt 7-Sapfo Sakellaridi (GRE) 6-2, 6-1;
Amandine Hesse (FRA) bt WC-Sameeksha Shroff (IND) 6-1, 6-0;
Lina Glushko (ISR) bt En-Shuo Liang (TPE) 5-7, 61-, 7-6(5);
Viktoria Morvayova (SVK) bt Conny Perrin (SUI) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1;
Camilla Rosatello (ITA) bt Zhibek Kulambayeva (KAZ) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3);
Sohyun Park (KOR) bt WC-Madhurima Sawant (IND) 6-1, 6-1;
Vaidehi Chaudhari (IND) bt Dejana Radanovic (SRB) 3-2 (retired);
Fanny Stollar (HUN) bt Naiktha Bains (GBR) 5-7, 7-5, 6-1;
Peangtarn Plipuech (THA) bt Diana Marcinkevica (LAT) 6-2, 6-0.