It was a good day for India’s Pranjala Yadlapalli and Mahak Jain as they advanced to the second and final qualifying rounds in the WTA 125K Mumbai Open on Saturday.
While third seed Pranjala crushed compatriot Mihika Yadav, a wildcard entrant, 6-3, 6-0, Mahak overcame Russian sixth seed Yana Sizikova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a match that lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes.
It was the match of the day as the 17-year-old national champion, ranked 658, took the fight to the 23-year-old Russian, who at 374 is ranked much higher than her.
Jain, who trains with Sajid Lodi in Madhya Pradesh, got the first break of the match, but was broken right back and went on to drop the first set. But she recovered admirably to win the next two in a gruelling match that needed a break due to extreme heat.
Taking about her upset win, Jain said, “It was great to have home support, my family was sitting there and cheering for me. The 10-minute break helped because it is very hot out there. The third set was very crucial and it was neck-to-neck at 5-5 so there were some nerves over there but I am happy I could break.
“Since I don’t have very big strokes, I can’t finish the points really quickly so I try to be in the point, make my opponent move and wait for the right opportunity,” she said of her game plan.
The teen will now play second seed Hiroko Kutawa of Japan in attempt to make the main draw. The Japanese player had earlier sailed past India’s Sowjanya Bavisetti 6-2, 6-1. Ashmitha Easwaramurthi, the other Indian in the fray, fell to Sofia Shapatava of Georgia.
In the other second round qualifying encounter, Pranjala will take on Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova, who had an easy 6-2, 6-1 win over Ksenja Ulukan.
1st qualifying round: Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) bt Ksenia Ulukan (KGZ) 6-2 6-1; Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) bt Sowjanya Bavisetti (IND) 6-2 6-1; Sofia Shapatava (GEO) bt Ashmitha Easwaramurthi (IND) 6-0 6-3; Tereza Martincova (CZE) bt Naoko Eto (JPN) 6-0 6-0; Mahak Jain (IND) bt Yana Sizikova (RUS) 3-6 6-3 7-5; Natalija Kostic (SRB) bt Fiona Codino (FRA) 7-5 6-0; Urszula Radwanska (POL) bt Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) 6-4 6-3.