WTA Chennai Open: Indian wild card Thandi pulls off upset win | Tennis News – Times of India

CHENNAI: Karman Kaur Thandi lit up the opening day of WTA Chennai Open at the SDAT Stadium here when she defeated 8th seeded Chloe Paquet in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an encounter that lasted 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Karman, a wild card for this tournament, displayed a never-say-die attitude through the course of the contest. Despite going down in the opening set 6-4, the 24-year-old from Delhi showed the will to fight. The turning point in the match arrived in the 7th game of the second set when she broke her French opponent to go 4-3 in that set. She held her serve in the next game and went on to clinch the set in the 10th game of the second set.
Once the contest reached the decider, it was the Paquet who got the break early and led the set 2-0. However, Karman once again showed her mettle to not only break her opponent in the third game but also go on to hold serve in the fourth. From that moment, it was Karman all the way. Karman was a different player altogether from the fifth game of the third set as she sealed the deal 6-3.
She landed her forehands and hit the lines just when it mattered which helped her notch up the biggest win of her career. “This win means a lot,” she said after the match. “It was a mental battle and I am happy that I could pull through,” Thandi said.
While the second half of the evening belonged to the Delhi 24-year-old, Canadian heartthrob Eugenie Bouchard gave the event the necessary boost when she won the first match of the day 7-6 (4), 6-2 against Joanne Zuger. The encounter saw the 28-year-old Canadian being tested in the opening set by her opponent from Switzerland. But once she won the first set in tie-breaker, Genie found her groove to eventually seal the deal in 1 hour and 44 minutes.
Genie, a wildcard in this tournament is on a comeback trail after suffering a shoulder injury in 2021, had a tricky first set. She was broken by Zuger in her very first game. However, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist broke Zuger in the next game and soon raced to a 4-1 lead. Zuger stayed in that set by winning the next three games as the first set read 4-4.
The first set reached the tie-break where it was Eugenie who raised her game during crunch situations to wrap things up 7-4. The second set saw Eugenie dictate terms against her 21-year-old opponent and got the much-needed break in the 5th game to go 3-2 up. She held serve in the 6th game and once again broke Zuger in the 7th to have a healthy 5-2 lead. Unlike the first set where she gave away her advantage to her opponent, Genie was more clinical and closed out the match at 6-2.
Genie admitted that she wasn’t at her best during the clash. “I tried to stay focused and fought back. It took some time to shake off the rust. I think it will take a while for me to get back to form. Initially, I was disappointed that I wasn’t up there. Still looking for consistency. It’s a work in progress,” the Canadian said. This was Genie’s first WTA tour level main draw win since the Abierto Zapopan tournament in Mexico last year where she had finished runners-up. During that tournament Bouchard had suffered a shoulder injury which saw her being away from the sport for about 17 months. She returned to competitive action ahead of the US Open but failed to go beyond the qualifiers. Bouchard said staying away from tennis for this long was frustrating. “The break away from tennis really tested my patience. It was a long process and I have never done those things before. But I never wanted to stop. It’s just the beginning of my comeback and hopefully I will have more years on the Tour,” she said.
Genie felt that she handled the humid conditions well. “I arrived here a little early for the tournament as I was worried about jet lag. It’s very humid here and I generally sweat a lot. Handling the conditions is the biggest challenge. I live and train in Florida so I am used to the humidity but the Chennai weather is something else. I needed seven towels and I had to keep them in different corners of the court. I also changed a few sweat bands,” she said.

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