Prarthana G. Thombare lived up to her top billing, brushing aside Victoria Chehal’s challenge with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the first round of the K.S. Narayanan memorial ITF women’s championship on Tuesday.
Second-seeded Natasha Palha, too, booked her place in the second round after beating Bhavani Balakumar 6-3, 6-2.
Not all seeded players, however, had comfortable victories. Sharrmadaa Baluu (5) staved off Riya Bhatia’s challenge, winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in an attritional encounter that saw momentum changing hands throughout.
China’s Xi-Yao Wang, seeded fourth, was stretched to three sets as well, by Yui Saikai of Japan.
Thombare and Chehal, right from the beginning, put on display some crisp ball-striking. Thombare’s was a predatory presence; she reeled off the first three games in the opening set with little trouble.
She fancied much the forehand, bringing into play the fiery drives down the line and, gradually, the cross-court shot on the run.
In 26 minutes, the set was hers. Despite what the scorecard may suggest, the 17-year-old Chehal produced a better showing in the second set.
On occasions, she matched Thombare shot for sizzling shot.
Only Thombare was an adept at finishing points. Chehal, 0-2 down, levelled things, even securing a break in the fourth game. But thereon, Thombare, engaged in long rallies and forced to make the play, didn’t relent and duly sealed the match with a crackling ace.
Earlier, Natasha and Bhavani were locked in a protracted battle for the first set.
Bhavani, notwithstanding a creaky service game, didn’t let her opponent get away until the eighth game where she was broken. Natasha clinched the set in the following game.
A similar pattern evolved in the second set as both players swapped breaks in the first four games.
But, Natasha bagged the next four games to resolve matters. Bhavani was bogged down by her profligacy; she made 11 double-faults.
The results: First round: Singles: Prarthana G. Thombare bt Victoria Chehal 6-1, 6-2; Sharon Sanchana Paul bt Damini Sharma 6-3, 6-2; Varunya Wongteanchai (Tha) bt Nithya Raj Babu Raj 7-5, 6-1; Sharrmadaa Baluu bt Riya Bhatia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; Xi-Yao Wang (Chn) bt Yui Saikai (Jpn) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3; Efriliya Herlina (Ina) bt Manya Nagpal 7-5, 6-2; Swetha Sree Hari bt Jeni Patel 6-2, 5-7, 6-2; Natasha Palha bt Bhavani Balakumar 6-3, 6-2; Rishika Sunkara bt Arthi Muniyan 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles: Vaniya Dangwal & Sneha Padamata bt Bhavani Balakumar & Reshma Ganapathy 6-1, 6-3; Nidhi Chilumula & Xi-Yao Wang (Chn) bt Riya Bhatia & Pranjala Yadlapalli 6-2, 6-2; Yui Saikai (Jpn) & Preethi Ujjini bt Ashmitha Easwaramurthi & Chun-Yan He (Chn) 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-4.