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Rishika and Nidhi qualify for the main draw of WTA Pune Challenger

Rishika Sunkara (File Photo)

Two Indian women have come through the qualifying draw to secure their spots in the main draw of the #$125,000 WTA Royal Indian Open in Pune.

19 year old Rishika Sunkara, a runner-up at the Nationals, defeated 18 year old Ankita Raina 6-2, 7-6 (11-9) in a match that lasted nearly two hours. Both players had received wild cards into the qualifying draw and had a bye in the first round.

The other Indian player through to the main draw was 7th seeded Nidhi Chilumula. The Indian received a walkover when her scheduled second round opponent, Emily Webley Smith, the no. 2 seed in qualifying, had to return after landing on Friday in Mumbai due to an invalid visa.

The British player, ranked no. 447 in the WTA rankings, was asked to return by the same flight in which she had come. Smith had a tourist visa, which she had used to visit Karnataka a few weeks ago to play an ITF event there. As per the bilateral pact between India and Britain, a tourist visa holder from either country cannot re-enter within 60 days of the previous visit. The visitor then, has to re-apply at the local embassy.

On the micro-blogging site, Webley Smith said that she was assured by the British embassy that she would be able to enter the country on the visa she had.

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