Mumbai: Riya Bhatia, from Delhi, thrashed her rival Niharika Rama 6-0, 6-1 in the opening qualifying round of the US $15,000 CCI- ITF Women’s tennis tournament on Saturday. The lanky girl from Delhi, who is ranked 57 in the country, hopes to qualify for the main draw, which will have 32 players.
Riya served hard and attacked tellingly with her rival hardly getting any chance whatsoever to make her presence in the tie before Riya was through for the loss of just one game. In other qualifying round matches, Preethi Ujjini blanked Sheetal Shetty 6-0, 6-0, Anushka Sathe scored an identical 6-0, 6-0 win over Seema Kumari and Sahan Shetty outplayed Mahrukh Kokni 6-2, 6-0.
The foreign flavour is provided by Greater Britain’s Emily Wembey-Smith, who at 428 in the ITF ranking is the highest ranked player in the main draw, which also comprises Eden Silva another from Great Britain, Anamika Bhargava from United States, Ayaka Okuno from Japan and Ching-Wen Hsu from Taipei. The Indian challenge is headed by Rishka Sunkara, ranked 476 alongwith other players in the main draw, which will have four from the qualifiers as well. The wild cards have been given to Snehadevi Reddy, Varunya Chandrashekhar, Jeni Patil and Sanya Madan.
Women’s singles (1st rd-Qualifying): Riya Bhatia bt Niharika Rama 6-1, 6-0; Preethi Ujjini bt Sheetal Shetty 6-0, 6-0; Anushka Sathe bt Seema Kumari 6-0, 6-0; SahanShetty bt Mahrukh Kokni 6-2, 6-0.