British No 6 Katie Swan made it through to the 2nd-round of the Chennai Open on Tuesday, defeating Arianne Hartono from the Netherlands, 6-1 6-2, after an hour and 24 minutes to set up a meeting with former Australian Open junior finalist Anastasia Gasanova from Russia, who stunned top-seed Alison Riske-Amritraj, 6-2 6-3.
Today was a good match for me and a good day,. I just put everything I had today and I tried my best. Hopefully it was a good fight and good match to watch. Anastasia Gasanova
It was disappointment for Riske-Amritraj, who had hoped for a better run in the land of her in-laws as she is married to Stephen Amritraj, son of former Indian Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj.
Riske-Amritraj was out of sorts throughout the match as she struggled for rhythm and with her serve, as Gasanova ran away with the first set after the players exchanged breaks early in the match.
The American, who has risen to the World No 23 from 29 following a last 16 appearance at the US Open last week, could not justify her top billing in Chennai, and was unable to impose her game on her 23-year-old opponent from Russia.
Gasanova, ranked 147, broke the American top seed twice, and although Riske-Amritraj broke in the first game of the second set to lead 1-0, the Russian broke back immediately and took the lead again to complete the straight sets win in 1 hour and 29 minutes.
“To be honest, after the US Open, I actually wanted to take a break from tennis,” said Gasanova, who suffered a 1st-round loss in the qualifying event of the US Open. “I actually wanted to take a break because I had been waiting for the US Open for so long.
“Last year, I couldn’t go to the United States because I did not have a visa. And this time it was a terrible loss and I was so sad, so I wanted to take a break.
“After that I saw a tournament in India and I said ‘let’s try, let’s go there and just try my best’.”
The 23-year-old played impressive tennis on Tuesday evening to upset the World No 23, breaking Riske-Amritraj’s serve 6 times in 11 opportunities and winning 23 of her 34 first-serve points, 67.6 percent.
“Today was a good match for me and a good day,” she continued. “I just put everything I had today and I tried my best. Hopefully it was a good fight and good match to watch.”
A fan of Serena Williams, Gasanova said: “I really look up to Serena Williams. She is so stylish on court and off court. I really like her attitude as well.”
Gasanova has been following the footsteps of her style icon, spending some of her free time custom designing t-shirts through her line TennisCustom.
“It’s an off-court hobby,” she added. “I usually do casual clothes.
“I found that for myself last year. I was always drawing and I saw a MasterClass online and then I designed my first t-shirt and then I kept going. I really enjoy doing it.”
On Thursday, Gasanova will face fellow 23-year-old Swan, a player she has been familiar with for many years.
“I know Katie since we were juniors,” she said. “We have never played, and I am really excited about the match. I know she has a good serve.”
Meanwhile, former French Open semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska from Argentina advanced with a 6-4 6-3 win against Japan’s Kyoka Okamura on Court 2, while there was further disappointment for local fans as India’s Ankita Raina went down in straight sets to 4th seed Tatjana Maria.
The German, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon earlier this year, won 6-0 6-1 in 1 hour and 16 minutes.
“Actually I am very happy [to win],” Maria said. “She is the Indian No 1 and I am glad to have beaten her as she had the crowd behind her.
“I only tried to make her play as many balls as possible.”
Maria now will meet Podoroska for a spot in the quarter-finals.
In other Tuesday results, Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva beat Despina Papamichail from Greece, 6-3 6-1, and Canadian Carol Zhao defeated Olivia Tjandramulia from Australia, 6-1 6-1.
The win is Zhao’s first in the main draw of a WTA event since November, 2021, and the Canadian did not face a break point, while she converted 5 of the 12 break points she had.
She won 69.8 per cent of service points and 56.1 per cent of return points in the comfortable victory that took an hour and 3 minutes to complete.
Zhao, who joins fellow Canadians Rebecca Marino and Eugenie Bouchard in the 2nd-round of the WTA 250 event, will next face Gracheva.