Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare triggered hope in doubles but it was dashed as they were beaten 6-4, 5-7, 10-8 by the third-seeded pair of Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Peangtarn Plipuech of Thailand in the quarterfinals of the ONGC-GAIL Delhi Open $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Wednesday.
With the organisers choosing to play only half of the second round matches, both in singles and doubles, the Indian challenge was kept alive, at least for another day.
Ankita and Prarthana, Fed Cup teammates, held out a lot of promise as they got off to a flying start with a 4-0 lead.
However, the Thai duo found its rhythm in time to arrest the Indian progress, not just in the first set when it reeled off six games on the trot, but also handled the climax with considerable competence.
Ankita and Prarthana had done very well to take the match into the super tie-break, by breaking the Thais in the 12th game of the second set, but were a trifle slow in reacting to the situation.
Prarthana caught the eye with her confident strokes. She also intercepted a blinder to save a matchpoint at the net. She, however, undid her good work by putting an overhead long on the second matchpoint.
In another doubles match, Sai Samhitha and Eetee Maheta found the second-seeded Yuliya Beygelzimer of Ukraine and Emily Webley-Smith of Britain too smart for their tricks, and managed to take just four games in all.
There was one Indian player still left in the fray in doubles. Rishika Sunkara, in bone-chilling conditions on Tuesday, along with Abigail Guthrie of New Zealand scripted a memorable triumph over the fourth-seeded Vernonika Kapshay and Samantha Murray after being 1-6, 1-5 down.
The Indo-Kiwi combination won 1-6, 7-5, 10-6 much to the shock of their opponents, and the pleasant surprise of their own ardent supporters who had braved the chill.
Eetee Maheta had played a strong match against Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel on Tuesday night, when she broke her opponent twice when she was serving for the match in the second set to force the decider. But, Eetee was unable to continue her challenge any further in the third set and failed to win a game.
In singles, the country's no.1 player Ankita Rainaa will challenge the fifth-seeded Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand on Thursday.
The results: Singles: Pre-quarterfinals: Wang Qiang (Chn) bt Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) 6-2, 6-0; Olga Savchuk (Ukr) bt Peangtarn Plipuech (Tha) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1; Erika Sema (Jpn) bt Veronika Kapshay (Ukr) 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-0.
First round: Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) bt Eetee Maheta 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-0; Sharmada Balu bt Vaniya Dangwal 6-2, 6-0.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Nicha Lertpiaksinchai and Peangtarn Plipuech (Tha) bt Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare 6-4, 5-7, 10-8; Yuliya Beygelzimer (Ukr) and Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) bt Sai Samhitha and Eetee Maheta 6-1, 6-3.
Pre-quarterfinals: Abigail Guthrie (Nzl) and Rishika Sunkara bt Vernika Kapshay (Ukr) and Samantha Murray (GBR) 1-6, 7-5, 10-6.