Hangzhou Asiad Gold medalist Rutuja Bhosale has been seeded top amongst the Indian contenders at the ongoing Bowring Institute ITF Women’s World Tour here.
The third best women’s tennis player in the country will kick off her World Tour campaign against compatriot Smriti Bhasin at the Bowring Institute tennis courts here from Tuesday.
After the gold-winning success at the Asiad by winning the gold medal in the mixed doubles with veteran Rohan Bopanna, Rutuja is eyeing to secure the 2024 Olympics quota and break into top 200 to ensure more Grand Slam presence in her career.
As of November 13, she is ranked 343 in WTS singles category and her best ranking was 313 on June 12. She has also clinched seven ITF titles in the last two years including six in the doubles category.
On her road to improvement, the role of Punit Balan Group has been big in terms of financial assistance given to her. This has helped Rutuja to be more relaxed and focus on her game than worrying about funds crunch.
The only other Indian in the top eight seeds is Vaidehi Chaudhari who is seeded fourth and takes on wild card entrant Anjal Rathi in her opening encounter.
The field is headed by Uzbekistan’s Nigina Abduraimova who will meet Ekaterina Yashina in her first round while Thailand’s Lanlana Tararudee has been handed the tag of second seed and will clash with India’s another wild card entrant Sharmada Balu.
Meanwhile, Indians grabbed all the eight qualifying spots, registering contrasting wins which saw the exit of three seeded players.
In the biggest upset of the day, 11th seed Kundali Majgaine knocked out the top seed Sandeepti Singh Rao 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 in a match that lasted for two hours while Sonal Patil continued her dream run in the qualifiers after she stunned second seed Sravya Shivani in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to make it to the main round.
In another upset match, Pooja Ingale overcame the fancied fifth seed Soha Sadiq 6-3, 7-5.
Qualifying Round-2 (All Indians unless mentioned in brackets)
Yashaswini Panwar bt Apurva Vemuri 6-1, 6-3; Sonal Patil bt 2-Sravya Shivani 6-4, 6-2; 6-Saumya Vig bt Abhilasha Bista (NEP) 6-0, 6-3; 8-Paavanii Paathak bt Sejal Gopal Bhutada 7-6 (5), 6-4; 11-Kundali Majgaine bt 1-Sandeepti Singh Rao 6-3, 2-6, 10-6; Vanshita Pathania bt Arthi Muniyan 0-6, 6-4, 10-7; Pooja Ingale bt 5-Soha Sadiq 6-3, 7-5; Lakshmi Prabha Arunkumar bt Nidhitra Rajmohan 6-1, 6-4.
Seedings for main draw
1-Nigina Abduraimova (UZB); 2-Lanlana Tararudee (THA); 3-Rutuja Bhosale (IND); 4-Vaidehi Chaudhari (IND); 5-Zhibek Kulambayeva (KAZ); 6-Jenny Duerst (SUI); 7-Zhibek Kulambayeva (KAZ); 8-Punnin Kovapitukted (THA).