Hyderabad: The Indian challenge in the singles event of the WTA Indian Open ended on Tuesday when Sania Mirza and Manisha Malhotra went down in the first round.
The day saw some upsets as top seed Clarisa Fernandez of Argentina and third seed Elena Likhovtseva were knocked out by lesser-known opponents at the Lal Bahadur tennis complex.
Unheralded Akiko Morigami of Japan defeated Clarisa 6-2 6-4, while Tzipora Obziler of Israel ousted Elena 6-2, 6-3.
Star attraction and fourth seed Mary Pierce survived some tense moments before dismissing the challenge of qualifier Jie Zheng of China 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
Sania and Manisha went down to Evie Dominikovic of Australia and Tatiana Poutchek of Bulgaria, respectively.
While Sania frittered away a one set advantage to lose 6-2, 1-6, 2-6, Manisha stretched her opponent before bowing out 2-6, 6-4, 5-7.
In another matches, fifth seed Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan had little difficulty in dismissing Katalin Marosi of Hungary 6-3, 6-3, while second seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand overcame qualifier Yuia Beygelzimer of Ukraine 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Pierce and Fernandez will be seen in action at the $10,000 international women’s tennis championship commencing February 10 at Chennai.
According to a press release from Tamil Nadu Tennis Association, the six-day event will be held at the Madras Gymkhana club with the final on February 15.