Principal Correspondent

ANGAMALY: Players from the breakaway Soviet Union countries are always tough to handle. They don’t give up easily.

Chennai’s Rushmi Chakravarthi was forced to slog against Volha Kalodzitsa of Belarus in the Federal Bank international women’s tennis tournament which began at the FISAT Complex, Mookkannur, on Monday. Rushmi won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

The top-seeded Rushmi, the grass court National champion, won her opener against the unseeded opponent in three sets but not before going through some harrowing moments.

The two players traded breaks twice in the first set which was won by Rushmi, but the 16-year-old Volha, a gritty fighter with solid ground strokes, rattled the top seed midway through the second set. Rushmi’s experience — she trained her guns on Volha’s backhand — saw her handle the decider smartly.

The court was damp, heavy and slow.

Both players had problems with their serves and Volha found the surface a bit slippery too.

The line umpires, all freshers, too took time to settle down in their new role and came up with a few wrong calls.

Heavy overnight rain disrupted the entire morning session and only two singles matches could be played at the venue in the evening. The day’s doubles fixtures were moved to Kochi’s Regional Sports Centre, nearly 40km from Mookkannur, the venue of the $10,000 ITF tournament.

The results (first round):

Singles: Rushmi Chakravarthi bt Volha Kalodzitsa (Bel) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Treta Bhattacharya bt Subbadharini Sundaram (USA) 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles: Yuri Kurashima & Chika Terasawa (Jpn) bt Kesiki & Prerana Prathap 6-3, 6-3; Asha Nandakumar & Kakhandki Gadigeppa bt Shalini Sahoo & Shweta Kumari Solanki 6-3, 6-3; Miki Miyamura & Arthi Venkataraman bt Tiang Huynh Phuong Dai (Vie) & Dipti Srivastava 6-3, 6-2; Parul Goswami & Sonal Phadke bt Nicola Mooney (GBR) & Deepna Vazirani 7-5, 7-5; Jilke Nelord & Harshini Reddy bt Neha Sujit Nair & Bhavani Ravisankar 6-3, 6-2.

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