Eighteen-year-old Nehel Sahni came from behind to defeat an injured Prerna Bhambri 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on the opening day of the ONGC $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here.
Nehel had only once progressed beyond the first round at this level before her upset win on Monday.
Third-seeded Prerna, who had withdrawn in the second round of last month’s $10,000 event here due to the same injury, was severely hampered by her right shoulder.
Due to the injury, she was forced to eschew her forehand for a slice. In the opening set, Nehel bounced back from 1-5 down to win the next three games but Prerna held the following game to 30 to take the set 6-4.
If not for her high number of unforced errors, Nehel could have won the match easily afterwards. After winning the second set 6-3, the 18-year-old established a 4-2 lead in the decider before allowing Prerna to storm back into the contest. Down 15-40 in the seventh game, Prerna won the next four points to hold serve and then broke Nehel to love.
However, the injury finally got the better of the third seed as Nehel broke back and then served out for the loss of a point to claim victory. This was Prerna’s first loss to Nehel in their three meetings.
The results (first round): Nidhi Chilumula bt Damini Sharma 6-1, 6-1; Bhuvana Kalva bt Nishtha Dudeja 6-1, 6-0; Nehel Sahni bt Prerna Bhambri 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Rishika Sunkara bt Manya Nagpal 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Naomi Totka (Hun) & Rishika Sunkara bt Sanya Madan & Avika Sagwal 6-3, 6-3; Sai Samhitha & Eetee Maheta bt Amrita Mukherjee & Ambika Pande 6-3, 6-2; Ankita Raina & Shweta Rana bt Vasavi Ganesan & Swetha Nalikala 6-1, 6-1; Shruti Dhawan & Simran Kaur Sethi bt Victoria Chehal & Aandrita Deb 6-2, 6-1; Treta Bhattacharyya & Natasha Palha bt Sneha Padamata & Neharika Rama 6-2, 6-1; Ching-Wen Hsu (Tpe) & Nidhi Chilumula w/o Vaniya Dangwal & Sharon Paul; Namita Bal and Shivika Burman bt Varunya Chandrashekar & Shalaka Uddur Manjunath 6-1, 6-4; Sharmada Balu & Sowjanya Bavisetti bt Smriti Joon & Manya Nagpal 6-2, 6-1.
Qualifying event (third and final round): Sai Samhitha bt Theiviya Selvarajoo (Mas) 6-3, 6-2; Smriti Joon bt Ojasvinee Singh 7-5, 7-5; Kanika Vaidya bt Karman Kaur 6-2, 6-2; Anjana Kompally bt Shruti Archita 6-1, 6-3; Shruti Dhawan bt Disha Saigal 6-1, 6-1; Sneha Padamata bt Likitha Shetty 6-1, 4-1 retd; Aandrita Deb bt Samriti Punyani 6-1, 6-0; Ambika Pande bt Amala Amol Warrick 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.