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Winning start for Karman Kaur Thandi and Pranjala Yadlapalli at 2016 Australian Open

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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932   //    23 Jan 2016, 21:15 IST
pranjala yadlapalli
Pranjala Yadlapalli had to work hard for her win

Karman Kaur Thandi and Pranjala Yadlapalli got off to a strong start in girls’ singles at the 2016 Australian Open as the junior competition got under way at the Melbourne Park on Saturday.  While Thandi easily beat Australian Olivia Gadecki 6-3, 6-4, Yadlapalli had to work harder for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 win over Mayuka Aikawa of Japan.

The unseeded Karman Kaur Thandi, who is now at a career-high junior ranking of 40th, did not have any trouble at all in dispatching the 13-year-old local girl Olivia Gadecki. Thandi broke her twice in the first set and grabbed it 6-3.

The Aussie girl put up a better fight in the second set and even earned six break points but she could convert only one. The big-hitting Indian, in contrast, made in-roads into Gadecki’s service game twice and wrapped up the win in 69 minutes.

Thandi will next face the Hungarian World No. 63 Panna Udvardy for a place in the third round. The 17-year-old won a Grade I singles tournament last year and will look to ride on that confidence to do well at the Australian Open.

The 10th seeded Pranjala Yadlapalli, meanwhile, had a tougher time on the court. She capitalized on two of her eight break point opportunities to pocket the first set 6-4 versus the 56th ranked Mayuka Aikawa. The unfazed Japanese, however, came back strongly to snatch the second set 7-5 and enforce a decider.

The third set was all Yadlapalli as the Indian broke twice to take the match in 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Yadlapalli, who won the Asian Closed Junior Championships in 2015, will next take on the 81st ranked Mira Antonitsch of Austria. The third Indian girl in the draw – Mihika Yadav – will start against the 15th seed Katherine Sebov on Sunday.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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