SPORT

Sai staves off Ludmila

India's Sai Jayalakshmy lines up a backhand return in her second round clash against Ludmila Rozsivalova of the Czech Republic in the ITF women's Futures on Wednesday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre  

MUMBAI APRIL 9. Akgul Amanmuradova and Sai Jayalaksmy got a whiff of danger before being reminded of the difficulty of defending reputations as compared to creating one.

The fourth seeded powerhouse from Uzbekistan found her timing deserting her against unseeded Julia Vorobieva in the first set of a singles pre-quarterfinal on Wednesday. On an adjacent court at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana in the $10,000 ITF women's Futures, sponsored by Mother's Recipe and organised by SPG, the third-ranked Indian too felt the early jitters facing Ludmila Rozsivalova, a qualifier from Russia.

Both seeds hit the depths before pulling back with difficulty to draw level in the second. On the verge of a tailspin, the two stuck to the basics of keeping the ball in play, erased the doubts in their minds as games went by before hitting the victory route again.

Akgul demolished Julia 6-1 in the decider, while Sai won 6-2 against an exhausted Russian for whom a three-setter in the Mumbai heat proved too much. Last week in the Mumbai Futures, the Uzbek had won the title and the Indian had made the semifinals.

Akgul relies on power and timing, a troublesome shoulder putting her off rhythm in the opener. The light at end of tunnel came in the form of three double-faults by Julia in the second game, the doubts hammered home with finality.

When both returned to the courts for the decider, the fourth seed grabbed her chances to notch four breaks and win 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.

Sai's nightmare with her serv continued for another day and she dropped the first and fifth games due after losing points on double-faults. She gave away six points in this fashion in the first, double-faulted eight times in the second yet won 6-4.

Sai found her way in time for the decider, her strokemaking getting more assertive to put a tiring Ludmila under pressure. Two breaks in favour and double-fault down to just one enabled her living to fight another day.

Indian qualifier Liza Pereira stroked with authority against fifth seed Chin-Bee Hoo (Malaysian) before losing in three sets in one of the interesting games of the day.

The results (Indians unless specified)

Singles (pre-quarterfinals): 2-Rushmi Chakravarthy bt Diana Costa (Por) 6-2, 6-3; 1-Manisha Malhotra bt Chattida Thimjapo (Tha) 6-3, 6-3; 4-Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) bt Jula Vorobieva (Rus) 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1; 3-Sai Jayalakshmy bt Ludmila Rozsivalova (Cze) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; 5-Chin-Bee Khoo (Mal) bt Liza Pereira 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Diana Julianto (Ina) bt Natalie Neri (GBR) 6-3, 6-2; 8-Wilawan Choptang (Tha) bt Shahar Peer (Isr) 6-2, 6-3; Zsuzsanna Babos (Hun) bt Franziska Etzel (Ger) 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles (first round): R. Chakravarthy & S. Jayalakshmy bt W. Choptang & C. Thimjapo (Tha) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2; L. Rozsivalova (Cze) & J. Vorobieva (Rus) bt Sasha Abraham & Samrita Sekar 6-1, 6-1; Shruti Dhawan & Yael Gliztenshtein (Isr) bt F. Etzel (Ger) & Christina Obermoser (Aut) 6-4, 6-4; Preeti Rao & Iciri Rai bt Archana & Arthi Venkataraman 6-4, 6-4; Orawan Lamangthong (Tha) & Geeta Manohar bt Marina Anuitin & Shahar Peer (Isr) 7-5, 6-3; Isha Lakhani & Megha Vakharia bt Carly Homewood & N. Neri (GBR) 1-6, 6-2, 6-1; D. Julianto (Ina) & Po-Kuen Lam (Hkg) bt D. Costa (Por) & Liza Pereira 6-1, 6-2; A. Amanuradova (Uzb) & Chin-Bee Khoo (Mal) bt Ankita Bhambri & Sonal Phadke 6-4, 7-5.