Tennis: Rutuja given top billing for ITF 15K event in Bengaluru

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Rutuja Bhosale of India, who made a successful return to the professional tennis circuit by clinching the singles title in an ITF women’s tournament in Egypt in 2020, has been given the top billing for the USD 15K KSLTA-ITF World Women’s Tour Championship, which begins here on Tuesday.

Former Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalist Zeel Desai, who has four ITF doubles and one singles titles, is seeded No.2 while Sowjanya Bavisetti, who was the runner-up at the Nationals recently, has been seeded No.3.

Pranjali Yadalapalli and Mihika Yadav complete the top five line-ups. The rear part of the top eight seeds include Vaidehi Chaudhari, So-Ra Lee (Korea), and Sathwika Sama. The three other foreign players include Elena Jamshidi (Denmark), Shria Atturu (USA), and Zlata Yankovskaya (Russia).

Meanwhile, local girl Pratibha Narayanan Prasad brought cheers to the crowd when she made it to the main rounds with a 6-7(3), 6-2, 10-6 win over Telangana’s Aditi Are and will clash with countrymate Sai Dedeepya Yedulla in her opening encounter.

The 20-year-old shrugged off a slow start only to gain momentum in the latter half of the match and dominated her opponent with an attacking style of play. Her calm approach proved to be deceptive at times as she struck the ball with electrifying energy. However, her defiant opponent, who hit the first ball of the tournament — she had got a walk-over in her first-round — compensated with cross-court moves and took the first set which was decided via a tie-break. However, in the second set, the Bengalurean pieced through the defence of her rival earning her a speedy 4-1 lead before capturing the set. The super tie-break saw Aditi lose steam and succumb to the sheer power of her rival.

Meanwhile, most of the fancied players in the qualifying rounds made it to the main draw including the top seed Shreya Tathavarthy who beat a fighting Sonashe Bhatnagar 6-4, 7-6 (4) to set up an opening match against the top seed Rutuja.

Results:

Qualifiers (Rd 2, prefix denotes seeding): Adithi Are lost to Prathiba Narayan Prasad 6-7(3), 6-2, 10-6; 2-Sai Samitha bt 16-Pooja Ingale 6-4, 6-7(3), 10-4; Renne Singla bt 14-Bela Tamhankar 6-4, 6-2; 5-Prathyusha Rachapudi bt Yahsika Venu 7-6(1), 6-1; 1-Shreya Tatavarthy bt Sonashe Bhatnagar 6-4, 7-6(4); Laalitya Kalluri lost to Sai Dedeepya Yedulla 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-1; 7-Akanksha Dileep Nitture bt Kashish Bhatia 6-2, 6-7(3), 10-5; 8-Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty bt 15-Dakshata Girishkumar 6-0, 6-0.

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