The duo also reaches doubles final
Things played out pretty much according to script in the quarterfinals of the K.S. Narayanan memorial ITF championship on Thursday.
The top two seeds — Prarthana Thombare and Natasha Palha — muscled their way into the semifinals with straight-set victories, while sixth-seeded Nidhi Chilumula was hardly troubled by China’s Xi-Yao Wang (fourth seed) in her 6-3, 6-0 win.
Only Eetee Maheta was confronted with a tough challenge, from compatriot Rishika Sunkara. After losing a closely-fought first set, Eetee outlasted her opponent in a nearly two-and-a-half hour contest.
Prarthana, having dominated every opponent of hers thus far, found herself in the unfamiliar territory of being 0-2 down in the first set. But, it wasn’t long before she settled into a rhythm against Varunya Wongteanchai.
Prarthana won five games on the trot, but her opponent from Thailand, refusing to cave in, made it 4-5. The former, however, broke in the 10th game to finish the set.
The second set was a more run-of-the-mill exercise as the 19-year-old Prarthana systematically took her opponent apart. The Maharashtrian’s game, in either set, was centred on clinical conversion of defensive positions into offensive ones. Prarthana topped up her service with crunchy, decisive groundstrokes.
Prarthana and Natasha — who train together in Pune under Hemant Bendre — celebrated their success with a resounding win in the semifinals of the doubles event later in the afternoon.
The results: Singles: Quarterfinals: Prarthana Thombare bt Varunya Wongteanchai (Tha) 6-4, 6-2; Natasha Palha bt Hirono Watanabe (Jpn) 6-0, 6-2; Nidhi Chilumula bt Xi-Yao Wang (Chn) 6-3, 6-0; Eetee Maheta bt Rishika Sunkara 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles: Semifinals: Natasha & Prarthana bt Nidhi & Xi-Yao 6-2, 6-3; Sharrmadaa Baluu & Rishika bt Hirono & Varunya 3-6, 6-1, 10-5.