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Shweta’s steady start

Shweta Rana, at South Club, on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Shweta Rana got off to a steady start at the National Grass Court Championships, here, at the South Club, on Tuesday, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Arantxa Andrady.

Things, though, weren’t smooth enough for the Delhi girl as her statemate fought hard, making her stretch for almost every point. It was just that the top seed kept her cool to win the crucial moments of the match, which eventually saw her through.

Shweta’s next opponent is Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, in Wednesday’s second-round match.

Shweta, however, admitted she needs some time to settle down since she’s playing on grass after quite some time. “Today’s match wasn’t very easy for me… It wasn’t one-sided at all…

“Honestly, I do need some more time to settle down since I’m playing on grass after quite some time. We normally don’t play on grass, so I have to get used to the surface here,” she said.

A successful campaign in the ongoing competition may brighten her chances of making the cut for the Federation Cup squad that will be led by Sania Mirza, Shweta believes.

“At the moment, I’m one of the reserves (in the Federation Cup squad). Yes, winning this tournament might well put me in an advantageous position,” she remarked.

In other matches, local girl Amrita Mukherjee walloped Maharashtra’s Aaryali Chavan 6-0, 6-1, while veteran Rushmi Chakravarthi, too, had it easy against Saumya Vig of Gujarat, winning 6-1, 6-0.

In the men’s section, top seed Vijjay Sunder Prashanth of Tamil Nadu made quite a few unforced errors, but eventually rallied to win 7-6(5), 6-4 over Uttar Pradesh’s Sidharth Rawat.

“It’s my first match on grass after two years. Yet, I’ve won the match in straight sets… So, I can’t complain…

“But once I picked my game up trailing 1-5 during the tie-breaker (in the first set), I never looked backwards. Things got smoother from thereon,” Vijjay said.

“I tried to serve big and hit the ball hard because you have to be attacking while playing on grass,” Vijjay added after the match.

Vijjay will next play the Premier Tennis League — an IPL-style tennis league, initiated by veteran Nitten Kirrtane, who's also the sixth seed here — in Pune, starting from January 19.

In other matches, fourth seed Chandril Sood of Uttar Pradesh overcame a one-set deficit to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Ajay Selvaraj of Tamil Nadu, while Kirrtane of Maharashtra whipped Andhra Pradesh’s Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-1, 6-4.

Seventh seed Saurav Sukul defeated Rohit Sarwate 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. “I’m happy to advance in my home tournament. I am in good shape and I am confident of doing well here,” said Sukul.