Aditya Sachdeva was buoyed by Karman Kaur Thandi’s performance in the WTA250 Chennai Open despite her exit in the second round of the tournament with a loss in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard.
Sachdeva is Karman’s personal coach and is technical director of the Roundglass Tennis Academy in Chandigarh.
The 24-year-old Karman had received a last-minute main draw wildcard with her first-round opponent being French World No. 109 Chloe Paquet. However, the Indian defied the odds and defeated the eighth-seeded Paquet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a physical battle that lasted two hours 35 minutes. Against Canada’s Bouchard, Karman had two set points in the second set but could not convert either as she lost 2-6, 6-7 (2).
Talking about the missed opportunities, Sachdeva said, “(Karman) definitely had chances. It is just the lack of experience of wanting to sometimes do a bit too much to the ball, whereas at this level it’s all about being solid. If it would have been a set apiece, it could have been a different story.”
Sachdeva was highly impressed with his ward’s performance. “I think she belongs there because she’s shown it. Now, it’s a matter of her and her team which is all of us. How we set everything for her.”
After her two hours 13 minutes long match against Bouchard, Karman was back on court playing doubles with Rutuja Bhosale and the duo came from 3-6, 2-5 down to defeat compatriot Prarthana Thombare and Indonesia’s Jessy Rompies 3-6, 7-6 (5), [10-4] in a late-night thriller and reached the quarterfinals. Karman and Rutuja had got entry as alternates after the withdrawal of Andorran-Argentine duo of V. Jimenez Kasintseva (left hip injury) and Nadiia Podoroska.
On Karman’s win in doubles, Sachdeva was surprised. “ I don’t know how they pulled it off. After a set and 2-5 down, it was more like going for broke and everything started falling in.”
He added, “They have played together before. I just felt that they didn’t express themselves. Both of them are such aggressive players, but it is more like, ‘Okay, we’re playing’ whereas I feel, if they play to their potential, they are a dangerous pair for anybody.”
Karman and Rutuja next face the top-seeded Canadian-Brazilian duo of Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani, who reached the 2021 US Open semifinals, on Thursday. For Sachdeva though, seeding is just a number. “In the singles draw, it was the eighth seed who she beat. I firmly believe, if she has the game or if any tennis player has the game, numbers will come. Your rankings will come. It’s all about development.”
Karman’s run at the Chennai Open has also caused a change in Sachdeva’s future plans for her. “She was supposed to leave for America for four weeks but seeing the current situation, I think I’ll hold her back for two weeks to get some training windows in, especially her strengthening has been lacking because she’d been traveling so much. I would get her back, make her train over there (Chandigarh) for around three weeks or so.”
“More on fitness and some mental aspects we saw in today’s matches which need to be relived and re-spoken about on the court. It’s an evolving game. She has to keep evolving,” he added.