India number three Pranjala Yadlapalli qualified for the main draw of a WTA tennis event for the first time in her fledgling career on Sunday.
Pranjala outclassed her Georgian opponent Oksana Kalashnikova in straight sets in the second and final qualifying round match of the USD 125,000 L&T Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India (CCI).
The 19-year-old mass communications under-graduate from Hyderabad, seeded third in the qualifiers aided by her ranking of 280 on the WTA circuit, needed one hour and 15 minutes to carve out a 6-4 6-3 victory over Oksana, who is ranked a distant 9,999.
However, it was a satisfying day for the Guntur-born Pranjala as she joined her Indian compatriots India number one Ankita Raina (direct entrant) and wild cards Karman Kaur Thandi and Rutuja Bhosale in the main draw of 32.
Last year, Pranjala lost to Ana Bogden, who would have got a direct entry into the main draw if she had not forgotten to send in her entry, in the first qualification round.
The tournament will commence on Tuesday after Monday was introduced as a rest day at the last moment to avoid clashes with the fourth ODI between India and the West Indies all set to be played at the same venue- CCI.
While Pranjala emerged victorious, another Indian girl two-time national champion Mahak Jain- was beaten by Japan's Hiroko Kuwata 6-3 6-4 and bowed out of the USD 125,000 event.
Pranjala, who has shifted base to train in Bangkok, Thailand, under Australian coach Stephen Koon, has benefited considerably with her ranking improving from 449 to 280 after winning back-to-back ITF 25,000 USD events in Lagos and Nigeria.
"I am playing really well now and trying to adapt to the opponent's game. I have benefited from my three-month-old stint under Stephen Koon," said Pranjala, who has beaten Swiss world No. 134, Conny Perrin, in both the ITF finals over the last two-three weeks.
In Sunday's match against the left-handed Oksana, Pranjala broke the 28-year-old Georgian rival's serve twice in the first set and four times in the second to romp home.
"Osaka was really solid and hitting the ball hard and making me work for points. I was trying to counter by hitting it hard and deep, besides making her move around the court," said Pranjala about her victory.
Meanwhile, the tournament was hit hard by the unexpected withdrawal of Israel's Julia Glushko.
Singles qualifiers (Round 2):
Pranjala Yadlapalli (IND) bt Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) 6-4, 6-3; Tereza Martincova (CZE) bt Sofia Shapatava (GEO) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) bt Mahak Jain (IND) 6-3, 6-4; Urszula Radwanska (Poland) bt Natalija Kostic (Serbia) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.