Sharrmadda Baluu and Rutuja Bhosale justified the faith of the organisers in awarding them a wildcard by causing upsets in the opening round of the USD 25,000 Ganesh Naik ITF Women’s Tennis Championships in Vashi, Navi Mumbai today.
In a first round match, 635th-ranked Bengaluru girl Sharrmadda upset fourth seed and 307-ranked Manon Arcangioli of France 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 20 minutes on day one of the tournament at the Ganesh Naik Tennis Complex.
Pune girl Rutuja, currently studying in college in the US and back home for a vacation, upset seventh seeded Russian girl Polina Leykina 7-6(4)1-6 6-2, ranked 321, in a three-hour battle to make it to the second round.
Cindy Burger is the top seed in the tournament followed by Sofia Shapatava of Georgia, ranked 248, and India’s Ankita Raina (299) who have been seeded second and third.
The event, the second leg in the Indian winter circuit completed by Lucknow and Pune, has drawn players from 19 countries, including seven from the home country in the main draw that commenced today.
Apart from Ankita, the other Indians who are in the main draw are qualifiers Karman Kaur Thandi and Natasha Palha, direct entrant and Asian Games doubles bronze medalist Prarthana Thombare and wild card recipients - former Asian junior champion Rutuja Bhosale, Sharrmadda Baluu and Nidhi Chilumula.
While the singles winner will receive prize money of USD3,919 (Rs 2,45,000), the runners up would receive USD 2,091 (Rs 1,30,600).
Other first round singles results: Despina Papamichail (GRE)(361) bt Ayaka Okuno (JPN)(393) 5-7 6-3 6-3;
Rutuja Bhosale(IND)(902) bt Polina Leykina (RUS,7) (321) 7-6(7-4) 1-6 6-2; Cindy Burger (Ned,1) (226) bt Yurika Sema (Jpn) 6-3 6-2.
The seedings: Singles: 1. Cindy Burger (Ned) (world ranking 226), 2. Sofia Shapatava (Geo) 248, 3. Ankita Raina (Ind) 299, 4. Manon Arcangioli (Fra) 307, 5. Katy Dunne(GBR) 310, 6. Emily Webley Smith (GBR) 319, 7. Polina Leykina (Rus) 321 , 8. Kamila Kerimbayeva (Kaz) 325.