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Isha loses to Szatmari, Indian challenge ends

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

Williams sisters begin well in the doubles event

— Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

CRUISING HOME: Agnes Szatmari had an easy time against Isha Lakhani.

Bangalore: The Indian presence in the Canara Bank Bangalore Open WTA Tier II tournament came to an end at the KSLTA courts here on Tuesday. Wild card Isha Lakhani lost in the first round and Sunitha Rao, who teamed up with Austria’s Monique Adamczak, lost the doubles first round encounter later in the evening.

Romania’s Agnes Szatmari defeated Isha Lakhani 6-2, 6-2 while the fourth-seeded Russian pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Sunitha and Adamczak 6-0, 6-1.

In a field lacking Sania Mirza, the Indian challenge was admittedly weak. This was proved again as all the Indian players crashed out by the second day of the tournament. Isha, with a WTA ranking of 357, struggled with a weak first serve and was error-prone throughout her match against the higher-ranked Szatmari (271).

Isha lost her first two service games in both sets and that left her playing catch-up. In the second set, Isha oscillated between rousing ground strokes and tepid finishes to well-fought rallies. In the third game, trailing 0-2 and serving 0-30, she fired a good serve and backed it with a strong forehand. Facing a miscued lob, Isha failed to connect her smash, scampered towards the back-court to retrieve and duly lost the point! That moment encapsulated the match.

In the morning, the Williams sisters — Venus and Serena — made their maiden bow on a tennis court in India and quickly got down to business, defeating Andreea Ehritt of Romania and Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 7-6(5), 6-4 in the doubles first round.

The Williams sisters were trailing 0-3 in the first set before pulling away with trademark power tennis.

“We want to win the doubles title,” Venus had said on Monday.

Stinging volleys

The two served aces at critical stages and the Ehritt-Tanasugarn duo was often left flinching at the net as the Williams sisters unleashed stinging volleys.

Serena and Venus fired 10 aces and had the right answers when prodded in the first set tie-breaker as well as in the second set when the rivals led 4-3.

The results:

First round: Singles: Olga Savchuk (Ukr) bt Katie O’Brien (GBr) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5; Tzipora Obziler (Isr) bt Angelika Bachmann (Ger) 6-2, 6-3; Sanda Mamic (Cro) bt Yung Jan Chan (Tpe) 6-2, 6-2; Agnes Szatmari (Rou) bt Isha Lakhani (Ind) 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles: Serena Williams & Venus Williams (USA) bt Andreea Ehritt (Rou) & Tamarine Tanasugarn (Tha) 7-6(5), 6-4; Anastasia Rodionova & Yaroslava Shvedova (Rus) bt Monique Adamczak (Aus) & Sunitha Rao (Ind) 6-0, 6-1.

Wednesday’s schedule:

Centre Court 11 a.m.: Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) vs Agnes Szavay (Hun); Yung Jan Chan & Chia Jung Chuang (Tpe) vs Ayumi Morita & Junri Namigata (Jpn); Not before 2 p.m.: Sybille Bammer (Aut) vs Anastasia Rodionova (Rus); Not before 5 p.m.: Tzipora Obziler (Isr) vs Serena Williams (USA); Patty Schnyder (Sui) vs Aiko Nakamura (Jpn); Serena & Venus Williams (USA) vs Shuai Peng & Tiantian Sun (Chn).

Court 1: 3 p.m.: Amanmuradova & Olga Savchuk (Ukr) vs Zi Yan & Jie Zheng (Chn).

Court 3: 3 p.m.: Agnes Szatmari (Rou) & Aurelie Vedy (Fra) vs Ekaterina Dzehalevich (Blr) & Monica Niculescu (Rou).

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