Svitolina ‘lobs’ out Rutuja, to meet Kumkhum next

Rutuja loses match, keeps spirits high on win against So-Ra Lee.

Rutuja Bhosle was welcomed on the centre court with a brief cheer by the sparse crowd as she began her warm-up routine. The Indian was the favourite on Wednesday after her heroics against South Korean So-Ra Lee in the first round of the WTA Royal Indian Open at the Balewadi Sports Complex.

Ukranian Elina Svitolina ranked 156 in the world had different ideas. Svitolina won the first two games without breaking a sweat, with Bhosle looking at sea committing two double faults in her first service game.

Bhosle rallied in the third game of the first set and broke Svitolina hitting a thunderous forehand which whizzed past the Ukranian. Then Bhosle managed to hold her serve and briefly levelled the first set 2-2. From the fifth game, it was one way traffic, as Svitolina held her serve and broke Bhosle to take a 5-2 lead. Bhosle managed to hold her serve in the eighth game. However, Svitolina saved two breakpoints and served a blistering ace, bagging the first set 6-3 in 30 minutes.

In the second set, Bhosle could not hold her serve in the very first game, again committing two double faults, and was at odds with her serve all through the set. Svitolina moved Bhosle all around the court with a combination of powerful groundstrokes and cheeky drop-shots. The second set lasted barely 20 minutes as Svitolina wrapped it up 6-0 and progressed into the second round where she will face Luksika Kumkhum.

Bhosle said that the Ukranian ranked 552 places above her had outclassed her and there was little she could have done to change the outcome. "My serve just did not work today. The quality of my serve played a huge part in determining the outcome. She was serving very accurately and the double faults I made in the first games of each set really sapped my confidence," said Bhosle. She said she was not prepared for lobs her 18-year-old opponent utilised. "I was getting considerable power behind my groundies, but Elina smartly varied the pace," she said.

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