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Zeel Desai stuns top seed Nigina Abduraimova at ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour

Published at :November 24, 2023 at 9:27 AM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 1:15 AM
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Ajay Gandhar


Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty and Vaishnavi Adkar also advanced to the quarters.

Zeel Desai achieved the biggest upset victory of her career by eliminating the top seed, Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan, on a joyous day for the Indian contingent. Two more compatriots, Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty and Vaishnavi Adkar, also secured contrasting wins against their favored opponents, witnessing four seeds tumble in the pre-quarterfinals of the ITF Bowring Institute ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour held on Thursday.

A confident Zeel, admitting her excitement to face the top seed even before the match, clinched a straight-set victory of 6-4, 6-4 against the Uzbek player. Meanwhile, Rashmikaa battled against her close friend and doubles partner, fourth-seeded Vaidehi Chaudhary, rebounding from a set down to claim victory with a scoreline of 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a marathon match lasting 2 hours and 58 minutes.

Vaishnavi dominated over the eighth-seeded Punnin Kovapitukted of Thailand with a score of 6-3, 7-6 (1), securing her spot in the quarterfinals. In another upset, sixth-seeded Jenny Duerst of Switzerland faced defeat in straight sets against Germany’s Antonia Schmidt with a score of 3-6, 4-6.

The initial stages of the match between Zeel and Nigina were fiercely contested, with both players matching each other shot for shot in the first nine games. Notably, the rallies were shorter, but both displayed classy shots. In a keenly fought 10th game, the 24-year-old Zeel secured a crucial break, claiming the first set 6-4.

Despite Nigina breaking Zeel’s serve in the fifth game of the second set and subsequently leading 4-2, Zeel rallied back, winning four consecutive games with breaks in the eighth and 10th game, ultimately sealing her place in the quarterfinals.

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Rashmikaa and Vaidehi had a history of meetings in prestigious events, with Rashmikaa triumphing in the Fenesta National final, and Vaidehi seeking vengeance in the recently concluded National Games final. Their match, which commenced the day’s proceedings, showcased fine tennis, with Rashmikaa’s forehand and Vaidehi’s deft cross-court shots taking the spotlight. After six games with service holds, Vaidehi, two years senior to the 21-year-old Rashmikaa, secured a break in the seventh game, claiming the first set 6-4.

Continuing the momentum, Vaidehi broke in the opening game of the second set, countered by Rashmikaa’s break in the sixth game to level the set. Eventually, Rashmikaa secured another break in the 12th game, forcing the match into a deciding third set. The final set witnessed an intense back-and-forth battle, both players breaking each other’s serve twice. Rashmikaa eventually sealed the match, breaking the fourth seed’s serve in the 12th game.

Here are the results for the Women’s Singles (Round of 32) and Doubles (Quarterfinals) matches:

Women’s Singles (Round of 32):

  • Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty bt 4-Vaidehi Chaudhari 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
  • 3-Rutuja Bhosale bt Pranjala Yadlapalli 6-4, 6-3
  • 2-Lanlana Tararudee (THA) bt Suhitha Maruru 6-1, 6-1
  • Antonia Schmidt (GER) bt 6-Jenny Duerst (SUI) 6-3, 6-4
  • Vaishnavi Adkar bt 8-Punnin Kovapitukted (THA) 6-3, 7-6 (1)
  • Zeel Desai bt 1-Nigina Abduraimova (UZB) 6-4, 6-4
  • 5-Zhibek Kulambayeva (KAZ) bt Q-Pooja Ingale 6-1 6-3
  • 5-Diletta Cherubini bt Anna Ureke 7-6 (2), 6-7 (7), 6-4.

Doubles (Quarterfinals):

  • 1-Rutuja Bhosale/Zhibek Kulambayeva (KAZ) bt Pooja Ingale/Sandeepti Singh Rao 6-2, 6-0
  • 3-Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty/Vaidehi Chaudhari bt WC-Kashish Bhatia/Vanshita Pathania 6-0, 6-3
  • 2-Jenny Duerst (SUI)/Ekaterina Yashina Vs. Diletta Cherubini (ITA)/Antonia Schmidt (GER) (halted due to rain and bad light)
  • 4-Punnin Kovapitukted (THA)/Anna Ureke Vs. Sai Samhitha Chamarthi/Soha Sadiq (halted due to rain and bad light).”

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