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Karman Thandi and Zeel Desai Make First Round Exits From WTA Event

Karman Kaur Thandi.

Karman Kaur Thandi.

Wild cards Karman Kaur Thandi and Zeel Desai put up a disappointing show and crashed to straight set defeats against respective first round rivals to exit from the singles at the L&T Mumbai Open.

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Mumbai: Wild cards Karman Kaur Thandi and Zeel Desai put up a disappointing show and crashed to straight set defeats against respective first round rivals to exit from the singles at the L&T Mumbai Open.

Lanky India no. 2 Karman, ranked 312 in the world, blew her chances at least of taking the match into the deciding third set with an error-prone game as she lost 2-6 4-6 in an hour and eight minutes to Slovenia's 26-year-old Dalila Jakupovic, ranked 242 in the world.

Earlier, 18-year-old Zeel fought doggedly but was clearly inexperienced against seventh seed Carol Zhou of Canada, ranked a high 150 in the world, to slump to a 3-6 1-6 defeat in just under an hour in the WTA event.

Two more Indians, national no. 1 Ankita Raina, ranked 281 in the world, and Rutuja Bhosale, also a wild card recipient, take the court tomorrow in their first round encounters.

Karman, 19, made a fine comeback from a break down in the second set, after losing the first tamely, to draw level 3-3.

But she failed to sustain the surge and was decisively broken in the 9th game before netting a forehand when faced with three match-points to make her exit.

Karman, with mentor and Indian Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi watching her from the stands, was broken in the third game of the first set, two double faults letting her down.

She was again broken in the fifth game as she committed three ground-stroke errors before losing the set tamely.

Karman was broken early in the third game of the second set and was 1-3 down before bouncing back to break her rival's serve in the 6th game with some fine forehand winners.

But at 4-all her inconsistency cost the Indian as she hit a forehand wide on break-point to drop serve again. The Slovenian took advantage to close out the set and the match.

"I had my chances but was a little bit loose on my serve at 4-all. But I played much better in the second set," said Karman after her loss.

"I lost some silly points. My speed (around the court) was okay. I need to work on my serve and fitness. I also need to be more focused on finishing the points. But it was a great experience," said Karman, adding her aim was to reach the 270 rank by the end of the year.

Zeel had her task cut out against a seeded rival but showed glimpses of what she could come up with.

The Indian teenager fought well in the opening set after trailing 1-4 by breaking her Canadian rival's serve, aided by a forehand cross court winner.

She held her serve for the first time to make it 3-4 and then took her rival to two dueces before Carol held serve to make it 5-3. But it was all she could come up with as the more experienced Canadian broke her again in the ninth game.

Carol jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second after saving two break points in the third game. Down a break-point at 1-4, Zeel committed a double-fault to drop her serve again to trail 1-5. The Canadian made no mistake in closing out the game for the set and the match.

"She was a bit more aggressive. She was also more experienced, but I tried my best. I am working on my serve," said Zeel after the defeat.

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