India's Shrivalli and Zeel impress with shock wins in Mumbai Open

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Mumbai, Feb 3 (PTI) India's Shrivalli Bhamidipaty, making her WTA Tour debut, showed remarkable confidence to knock out Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece in straight sets in a first-round qualifying match in the Mumbai Open here on Saturday.

Wild-card entrant Zeel Desai too showed poise in ample measure to brush aside the challenge of another Greek player Sapfo Sakellaridi, winning her first-round qualifying match in straight sets.

The 22-year-old Shrivalli caused the biggest upset of the day, defeating the Greek player, ranked 117th in the world and seeded second in the qualifying round, 6-3, 6-2 in the WTA 125K event.

The 26-year-old Valentini started with intent and raced to a 3-1 lead. But Shrivalli, the national singles and doubles champion, showed a lot of resilience and won the five games in succession to wrap up the first set.

The win further boosted Shrivalli's confidence as she started to serve stronger and dominated the rallies.

Zeel brushed aside the challenge of Sapfo Sakellaridi, winning 6-2, 6-1. Playing in familiar conditions, Zeel didn't give her seventh-seeded opponent any scope for a comeback.

"Honestly, since it was my debut game, I was just keen, going out there and having a good game. I just wanted to play my best tennis and use my strengths to the best of my ability," Shrivali said after the match.

"The organisers (MSLTA and WTA) are doing a great job and we now have a lot of women's tournaments, which is encouraging us to work harder. And we have also been climbing up the ranks, and I think tournaments like the Mumbai Open allows us to compete at a higher level, which is good for us," she added.

Unseeded Vaidehi Chaudhari of India also advanced to the second round as her opponent, fourth seed Dejana Radanovic, retired hurt after trailing 2-3.

Two Indian wild cards, Madhurima Sawant and Sameeksha Shroff, could not make it to the next round.

Madhurima lost to Korea's Sohyun Park 1-6, 1-6, while Sameeksha Shroff was outplayed by France's Amandine Hesse 1-6, 0-6.

Lina Glushko of Israel produced a gallant fight to score an upset win against fifth seed in qualifiers En-Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei snatching a 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(5) win to advance to the second round.

The qualifying matches will be played on February 3 and 4, while the main draw action will start on February 5. PTI AM AM KHS KHS