Chennai Open Day 1 ends: Karman upsets opening round; Bouchard takes a breather through Zuger

There’s no out-of-competition exercise that can prepare you to last through a full day of competition in the league.

Chennai hosted its first Tour level tournament in five and a half years. Karman Thandi played his first main match at Tour level in four years. Eugenie Bouchard played her first major game at Tour level in 18 months.

Chennai seems to have passed the test. Karman and Bouchard certainly did, beat eighth seed Chloe Paquet of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and Joanne Zuger of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 6-2 respectively to set up an intriguing second-round clash at the WTA Chennai Open.

Monday will be super special for Karman, as she beat a player who ranked 250 places above her (109) for her second ever 250-level win.

“This is very special, because it’s at home,” Karman said. “It was not an easy match. But I stayed and fought hard. The crowd helped. I can feel the energy. The willpower and fighting spirit, that’s what I showed.”

Karman went up 3-1 in the first set only to lose 4-6 due to a double foul on the set point. But she overcame disappointment relatively quickly, parting ways with the love 3-3 in the third set, with two strong forehand winners on standout shots.

Karman’s serve came under pressure shortly after as Paquet earned a break. But the Indian hit a low ball to get the good forehand winner out of jail, and then leveled the match, courtesy of two tight holds. In the third set, Paquet was 2-0 down but Karman took six of the next seven to claim the victory.

“I took a break [after the first set], refreshing and telling myself it’s like love – all, 24 years old. “To find a solution to what’s going on is the main goal and I can do that quite often and that’s how the game goes my way.”

Prior to that, Bouchard had set the tone with a straight-set win over Zuger to captivate the sparse but passionate crowd. The Canadian did not play a perfect match, but shaded tennis when it mattered most.

Bouchard and Zuger changed the break early before the former established a 4-1 lead. Bouchard is a flatter shot, hitting with a near-zero score. Zuger’s rubber is more controlled, but not as transparent.

But the situation soon changed, when Zuger restored parity and even broke serve in the 11th game to serve for the set. But at set-up time, Bouchard delivered a formidable backhand. It deflated Zuger and the Swiss never recovered.


Result (1st half): Eugenie Bouchard (Can) bt Joanne Zuger (Sui) 7-6 (4), 6-2; Karman Thandi bt Chloe Paquet (Fra) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Rebecca Marino (Can) bt Anna Blinkova 7-5, 6-2; Katarzyna Kawa (Pol) bt Astra Sharma (Aus) 6-4, 6-3; Nao Hibino (Jpn) bt Jana Fett (Cro) 6-0, 6-4; En Shuo Liang (Tpe) bt Linda Fruhvirtova (Cze) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3; Qiang Wang vs Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

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