Mumbai: India number one, Ankita Raina, will play against unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the first round of the $125,000 L&T Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India's courts here. Raina, who is ranked 281 in the world, has five singles and seven doubles titles to her credit on the ITF tour.
She has got a wild card entry into the main draw of the WTA tournament, which will commence at the CCI from Monday. Raina, who has played against Veronika last year in doubles, said she was excited to play a big tournament in the country after her stints in China and Japan over the last two weeks.
"I am happy and excited that we have such a big event in India and I have been playing these events and I am going to take it match by match. I have been playing in China and Japan for the last two weeks, I am coming from those tournaments," said wild card recipient Ankita who had a career-high ranking of 222 in 2015.
Three other Indians, Karman Kaur Thandi (ranked 312), Rutuja Bhosale (604) and Zeel Desai (790) have also been given wild cards into the 32-strong main singles draw. 19-year-old Karmran, who is the India no. 2, will meet Slovenia's 26-year-old Dalila Jakupovic, world ranked 242, in round one.
Maharashtra 21-year-old Rutuja Bhosale opens her campaign against 23-year-old Israeli qualifier Deniz Khazaniuk, ranked 274. The Israel girl comfortably won both her qualifying matches on Saturday to make the main draw.
The fourth Indian wild carder, Zeel, has the toughest first round as she faces off against the 22-year-old, seventh-seeded Carol Zhao of Canada, who is ranked 150 in the world. Top seed, 19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus who is ranked 79, will clash with unseeded Priscilla Hon of Australia, who is of the same age but ranked much lower at 231.
Karman said it was a great feeling to play on home courts and it was a great opportunity for her to play in the tournament. On her opponent Delhi-based Karman said that she does not know how her opponent plays.
"For me pressure is privilege and when you perform under pressure it is nice. It is going to be good match". "For this week, I look forward to giving my 100 per cent for each point," Karman quipped.
Zeel said that her opponent was seeded seventh and must be very good. "I will give my best (shot)," she said. Meanwhile, Rutuja and Ankita will take Victoria Rodriguez (Mexico) and Bibiane Schoofs (Netherlands) in their doubles first round match.