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WTA tennis tournament: Karman brimming with confidence

WTA tennis tournament: Karman brimming with confidence

It was not Billie Jean King giving a speech about “pressure is a privilege.” It was Karman Kaur Thandi, the brightest hope of Indian women’s tennis, answering about competing in the L&T Mumbai Open $125,000 WTA tennis tournament, from Monday.

The 19-year-old Karman, who has swiftly climbed to be the No. 2 singles player in the country with a rank of 312, said she had gained a lot from the training stint at the Mouratglou Academy in France, thanks to the support and guidance of Mahesh Bhupathi.

When she said “pressure is a privilege”, in a media interaction on Sunday, Karman showed she was getting sound education, not merely to be a super athlete on the tennis court.

Having reached the final of the $25,000 ITF women’s event recently in Pune, the Delhi girl was brimming with confidence when she was drawn to play Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia.

Not just Karman, but the other three wild-card entrants, Ankita Raina, Rutuja Bhosale and Zeel Desai, said they would compete hard and give their 100 per cent.

Appreciating Karman’s rise in recent months, the 24-year-old Ankita said the quality of women’s tennis was a lot higher than a few years ago, when she was ranked a career best 222. She said she expected to jump 20 places and reach the top 200.

Drawn to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, Ankita said the first round was always difficult, and it was possibly better to play a seeded player, like Zeel Desai, who had drawn the seventh seed Carol Zhao of Canada.

Fully equipped with the education and training from the US, former Asian junior champion Rutuja Bhosale said she was getting better with every tournament.

Incidentally, she is also guided, like Ankita, by coach Hemant Bendrey.

The 21-year-old Rutuja will open against qualifier Deniz Khazniuk of Israel. She said the tournament was a great opportunity for players to rise in the rankings.

Zeel’s coach Todd Clark said it was important for juniors not to “try too hard” at such events, and just play their game, which would be their strength.

There may not be much difference in the strength of the players, as Ana Bogdan of Romania, who came through two rounds of qualification dropping a solitary game, was seeded No. 2, behind Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Arina Rodionova of Australia will be two of the other top players, ready to render a lesson or two.

With seven Indians getting into the doubles draw, all of them with Indian partners except Prarthana Thombare (Hiroko Kuwata of Japan), there will be a lot to watch for the Indian fans.

The seedings: 1. Aryna Sabalenka (Blr), 2. Anna Bogdan (Rou), 3. Yanina Wickmayer (Bel), 4. Arina Rodionova (Aus), 5. Naomi Broady (GBr), 6. Lizette Cabrera (Aus), 7. Carol Zhao (Can), 8. Irina Khromacheva (Rus).

The results: Qualifying singles (second and final round): Ana Bogdan (Rou) bt Naiktha Bains (Aus) 6-0, 6-1; Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) bt Zhang Ling (HKg) 7-5, 6-4; Hiroko Kuwata (Jpn) bt Anna Morgina 7-5, 6-4; Alize Lim (Fra) bt Julia Glushko (Isr) 6-0, 6-3.

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