Fancied Andrea Lipovska of Australia survived a huge scare before pulling off a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over a gallant Sagarika Phadke of India in an exciting first round of the qualifiers, as the US$10,000 ITF Women's Tennis Tournament, sponsored by Rajesh Kumar Wadhawan Charitable Trust, got underway at the Practennis School of Tennis, Mumbai on Saturday.
The unseeded Indian came up with a strong challenge in the opening set and clinched the second set in brilliant fashion to force the decider. But crucial breaks gave Lipovska the edge as she heaved a sigh of relief after escaping to victory.
In another first round tie, No. 7 Karishma Patel of India overcame a strong challenge in the first set before getting the better of unseeded Gangothri Sandri 7-6 (0), 6-4 in an all-India affair.
Sandri ran Patel close in the opening set and forced the set into extra points. But her challenge fizzled out in the tie-breaker as Patel took a 1-0 lead. Patel dominated the second set and put Sandri under immense pressure before sealing her place in the second round.
In contrast, Sagarika's sister and top seed in the qualifiers Sonal Phadke led the other seeds into the second round without much ado. Sonal was joined by No. 2 Po-Kuen Lam (Hong Kong), third seed Kavitha Krishnamurthy (Canada), No. 4 Tara Iyer (India) and Liza Pereira (India).
Results (1st round qualifiers):
Julia Dziedzic (Aus) bt Aarthi Duraisamy (Ind) 6-0, 6-2; Pichitra Thongdach (Thai) bt Pallavi Sharma (Ind) 6-0, 6-1; Po-Kuen Lam (HK) bt Rati Kumar (Ind) 6-1, 6-1; Liza Pereira (Ind) bt Lizeth King (Aus) 6-0, 6-0; Andrea Lipovska (Aus) bt Sagarika Phadke (Ind) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4; Mari Inque (Japan) bt Natalie Solevski (Aus) 6-3, 6-3; Sonal Phadke (Ind) bt Preeti Shravan (Ind) 6-1, 6-2; Karishma Patel (Ind) bt Gangothri Sandri (Ind) 7-6 (0), 6-4; Amoolya Raghunath (Ind) bt Neetu Batra (Ind) 6-1, 6-2; Kavitha Krishnamurthy (Can) bt Deepa Engade (Ind) 6-0, 6-0; Tara Iyer (India) bt Sonali Sanap (Ind) 6-1, 6-0; Oormila Ram (Ind) bt Kanisha Mehta 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.