ITF women’s tennis: Rutuja’s dream run ends

Pune: Local girl and wild card entrant Rutuja Bhosale’s dream run came to an end at the NECC-ITF  $25,000 women’s tennis tournament on Thursday as the 15-year-old lost to top seed Varatchaya Wongteanchai in straight sets. Rutuja's loss also ended the Indian challenge at the event.

Rutuja, who had thrilled the audience with her superb hitting from both flanks on Tuesday and Wednesday, found Wongteanchai’s variations a bit too much to handle, going down 2-6, 2-6 in 64 minutes.

In other quarter-final matches, sixth seed Celine Cattaneo upset fourth seed Nicha Lertpitaksinchai of Thailand, while unseeded Melis Sezer sent packing third seed Tadeja Majeric in a completely one-sided match.

In a match watched by a capacity crowd at the Deccan Gymkhana, Wongteanchai started strongly, racing to a 4-0 lead in no time. Rutuja did manage to hold her serve a couple of times after that, but the Thai girl stayed strong on her on serve to wrap up the opening set 6-2.

Rutuja hit some of her trademark forehand winners at the start of the first set, and looked like making it a much better contest, before Wongteanchai broke her in the fifth game.

Rutuja did have a chance to break back immediately, but failed to make best use of the one breakpoint she got, and the Thai girl just did not lose a single game after that. The difference between the rankings of both the players was close to 800 places, and it showed, in the end.

However, a quarter-final finish has given Rutuja 15 ranking points, which is bound to shoot her ranking considerably, when the new ranking list is released on Monday.

Wongteanchai will meet sixth seed Cattaneo in Friday’s first semi-final, after the French girl got the better of a injured Lertpitaksinchai 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Lertpitaksinchai looked in control of the match, leading 5-3, but hurt her lower back while serving.

The Thai girl managed to hold her serve leading 5-4 to win the first set, but just could not go for a big serve at all after that. Cattaneo made full use of the opportunity to race through the second set, before clinching the decider by breaking her opponent twice.

Sezer ran through the first set against Majeric 6-0, and led 4-0, before the Slovenian made a mini comeback by winning three games in a row. Sezer regained her composure to win the next two games, and with that sealed the opportunity to meet Ukraine Anna Shkudun, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Ting-Fei Juan, in Friday’s second semi-final.