Indians eye good show at ITF meet

Japan’s Mai Minokoshi leads a dominant Indian field in the $10,000 ITF women’s tournament starting at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex on Monday.

Minokoshi and her compatriot Sanae Ohta, besides Hungary’s Naomi Totka, seeded seventh, are the only foreign players in the fray. With not too many overseas players around, the Indian girls will be fancying their chances to have a shot at the title.Ankita Raina is seeded second and Rishika Sunkara third.

The 21-year-old Minokoshi is coming on a string of early exits in recent tournaments. Her best performances of the year came in April when she made the semifinal and quarterfinal appearances in back-to-back $10,000 tournaments in Turkey. Ohta, too, had struggled to go beyond the early rounds.

In contrast, the 20-year-old Raina has some confidence-boosting performances behind her.  The left-hander is fresh from her final appearance in the $25,000 tournament in Uzbekistan where she entered as a qualifier before losing to local girl Sabina Sharipova in straight sets. The national grasscourt champion already has a $10,000 title to her credit this year, in Chennai in April, besides a clutch of final appearances. 

Sunkara, on the other hand, is yet to win a title this year. But her last ITF title came last year at this venue and she would be hoping for an encore.

One cannot rule out fourth-seeded Prerna Bhambri who has had some good performances here in the past. Bhambri has mostly played in India this year, where she made a handful of quarterfinal appearances. 

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