India's Sonal Phadke and Parija Maloo scored easy victories to advance to the final qualifying round, in the ITF women's US $25,000 Tennis Tournament at the Kalina University Campus, in Mumbai, on Saturday.
On a day of mixed fortunes for Indians, Phadke overcame her sister Sagarika 6-2, 6-4 in a first round match, while Maloo accounted for another Indian, Nupur Kaul 6-1, 6-1.
Joining the duo was Punam Reddy, who recovered from the loss of the opening set to beat Mutsuko Hirose of Japan 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Among the Indians who made a premature exit were Geeta Manohar, Radhika Jadhav, Ashan Nandakumar and Tanvi Shah.
The hardcourt tournament, organised by the All India Tennis Association and the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, includes singles and doubles.
The Kalina Campus, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the University of Mumbai, is hosting its maiden tennis tournament.
Bhambri is No 439 in the WTA rankings, while Lakhani is 535. Both are likely to pose a strong challenge to the likes of Shiho Hisamatsu of Japan, who is the highest-ranked player in the tournament at 160, China's Yan-Chong Chen (195) and Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan (233), a regular on the circuit and familiar with the conditions in Mumbai.
Joining the Indian challenge are veteran Rushmi Chakravarthi, who at No 393 in the WTA list, is the highest ranked Indian in the draw, Tara Iyer (539) and Sanaa Bhambri (553).
The main draw starts on Monday, March 19.
Results (1st qualifying round): Kelsey Sundaram (US) bt Geeta Manohar (Ind) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Martina Caciotti (Ita) bt Chirashanthi Rajur (Ind) 6-2, 6-3; Ji-Young Kim (Kor) bt Madhulika Sharma (Ind) 6-0, 6-0; Morgan Basil (US) bt Radhika Jadhav (Ind) 6-2, 6-3; Shao-Yuan Kao (Tpe) bt Vishika Chhetri (Ind) 7-6(2), 6-2; Ashmitha Easwaramurthi (Ind) bt Akshitha Basavaraju (Ind) 7-5, 6-2; Sonal Phadke (Ind) bt Sagarika Phadke (Ind) 6-2, 6-4; Punam Reddy (Ind) bt Mutsuko Hirose (Jpn) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1; Misa Kinoshita (Jpn) bt Asha Nandakumar (Ind) 6-2, 6-3; Parija Maloo (Ind) bt Nupur Kaul (Ind) 6-1, 6-1; Hae-Sung Kim (Kor) bt Archana Venkataraman 6-3, 6-3; Wei-Ping Lee (Sin) bt Apurvika Shukla (Ind) 6-0, 6-2; Jeong-A Cho (Kor) bt Tanvi Shah (Ind) 6-1, 6-0.