Misc Tennis

Mumbai Open | It’s Sahaja’s Day as she knocks out top seed Kayla Day

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Stunning win: Sahaja exults after pulling it off in the decider.
| Photo Credit: Kamesh Srinivasan

Wild card entrant Sahaja Yamalapalli competed brilliantly against the top seed Kayla Day of USA to keep the sparse crowd thoroughly entertained and nonchalantly pulled off a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory in the first round of the L&T Mumbai Open WTA tennis tournament at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) on Monday.

“It was the biggest match of my career. I have no words. Thank you everyone for coming and cheering,” said the 23-year-old Sahaja, who was remarkably consistent with her explosive strokeplay.

Pitted against a top-100 player, Sahaja was able to show her strong game with precision hitting in sustained long spells. She emphasised her all court game, as she spanked winners on both flanks with the backhand cross court emerging as a stand out weapon.

The American left-hander was patient in the long rallies, especially after losing the first set, and fought better in pocketing the second. But that score did not say the intensity of the contest as Sahaja fought every point.

In the decider, Sahaja hung on and broke serve in the ninth game. She did miss two match-points, but converted the third much to her relief and jubilation of the fans who stood up to applaud a brave show of high quality entertainment.

Vaishnavi Adkar gave a good account of herself, but could not capitalise on her strong game when pitted against lucky-loser Sohyun Park of Korea. Vaishnavi was scheduled to meet qualifer Himeno Sakatsume of Japan, but the latter withdrew. The experience should help Vaishnavi build her game better.

Park had a good day, as she combined with Zhibek Kulambayeva of Kazakhstan to knock out the top seeds Angelica Moratelli and Camilla Rosatello of Italy in straight sets in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

The Indian duo of Ankita Raina and Rutuja Bhosale played well but their opponents Naiktha Bains and Fanny Stollar pulled through 10-8 in the super tie-break.

The results: First round: Sahaja Yamalapalli bt Kayla Day (USA) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4; Darja Semenistaja (Lat) bt Panna Udvardy (Hun) 7-5, 3-6, 6-2; Arianne Hartono (Ned) bt Irina Jara (Rou) 6-4, 6-4; Sohyun Park (Kor) bt Vaishnavi Adkar 6-2, 2-6, 6-1; Laura Pigossi (Bra) bt Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 3-0 (retired); Alina Korneeva bt Chloe Paquet (Fra) 6-1, 6-3.

Doubles: Zhibek Kulambayeva (Kaz) & Sohyun Park (Kor) bt Angelica Moratelli & Camilla Rosatello (Ita) 7-6(4), 6-2; Naiktha Bains (GBR) & Fanny Stollar (Hun) bt Rutuja…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at | The Hindu…