Special Correspondent

MUZAFFAR NAGAR: National champion Ratnika Batra got a bitter taste of the higher league when she lost to qualifier Inna Kuzmenko of Russia 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the Bhavna Swarup memorial ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Services Club grass courts here on Monday.

On a day when Rushmi Chakravarthi, Sanaa Bhambri and Parul Goswami sailed past Indian opponents without breaking into a sweat, the newly crowned National champion Ratnika had a tough draw teasing her.

The strongly-built Russian had a big serve and explosive shots on both the flanks, that overwhelmed the Indian girl.

Defensive tactics

The defensive tactics of Ratnika did not work as the Russian pounced on every opportunity to slam the ball for rousing winners, especially with a whipping forehand.

It took some time for the stocky Indian girl to engage her opponent in fruitful rallies. To her credit, Ratnika did make a fight of it in the end, after being reduced to 1-5 in the second set, but it was too little too late.

Meanwhile, the top Indian players warmed up for the tougher challenges ahead, though they had to cope with the slippery courts that had failed to dry up despite the opening ceremony having pushed the start of matches close to noon.

The results: Singles (first round): Nicole Thyssen (Ned) bt Harshini Reddy 6-1, 6-3; Parul Goswami bt Dipti Srivastava 6-1, 6-1; Rushmi Chakravarthi bt Asha Nandakumar 6-2, 6-2; Alexandra Kolesnichenko (Uzb) bt Rani Smita Jain 6-4, 6-1; Iuliia Kirienko (Ukr) bt Prerna Mythri 6-3, 6-3; Inna Kuzmenko (Rus) bt Ratnika Batra 6-3, 6-3; Sanaa Bhambri bt Deepna Vazirani 6-1, 6-1; Jung-Yoon Shin (Kor) bt Hae-Sung Kim (Kor) 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Parul Goswami and Sweta Kumari Solanki bt Avni Jain and Saneeya Singh 6-0, 6-0; Prerna Mythri and Parija Maloo bt Sagarika Phadke and Patrycja Sanduska (Pol) 6-2, 6-4; Geeta Manohar and Archana Venkataraman bt Vidushi Gupta and Sanskriti Sinha 6-0, 6-0; Treta Bhattacharya and Shalini Sahoo bt Abhilasha Ahuja and Rani Smita Jain 6-1, 6-0; G. K. Shweta and Asha Nandakumar bt Prarthana Prathap and Dipti Srivastava 6-2, 6-0.

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