Indians falter in opening round

National champion Prerna Bhambri bowed out in the first round to second seed Misaki Doi of China on the second day of the $125,000 Sanjay Kakade Group Royal Indian Open WTA Challenger on Tuesday.

Prerna seemed overwhelmed by the occasion and lost 0-6, 2-6 against second seed Doi. Qualifier Nidhi Chilumula was hammered 2-6, 1-6 by Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay at the Shiv Chattrapati Sports Complex.

Though not many expected the Indian players to create upsets, it was the manner of the defeat that must have hurt even the players.

Bhambri, who was given a wild card in the tournament, could not settle down throughout the first set and Doi simply breezed through the set. The Delhi lass improved her performance in the second set as she held serve in the first and third game. The Chinese then took little time in closing out the match.

Even Rishika Sunkara could not raise the bar against veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan and went down 0-6, 3-6.

Rutuja advances

Local girl Rutuja Bhosale came from a set down to upset So-Ra Lee of Korea in the opening round on Monday night. The 16-year-old, who was given a wildcard for her maiden appearance in a WTA event, beat So-Ra Lee 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in a thrilling contest.

Results (first round, Indians unless mentioned otherwise): 4-Eva Birnerova (Cze) bt Stephanie Bengson (Aus) 6-2, 7-5; Cagla Buyukakcay (Tur) bt Nidhi Chilumula 6-2, 6-1; Olga Savchuk (Ukr) bt Kurumi Nara (Jpn) 6-2, 6-2; 2-Misaki Doi (Chn) bt Prerna Bhambri 6-0, 6-2; Kimiko Date-Krumm (Jpn) bt Rishika Sunkara 6-0, 6-3.

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