Sharrmadaa-Rishika duo triumphs
Top-seeded Prarthana Thombare will meet seventh-seeded Eetee Maheta in the final of the K.S. Narayanan memorial ITF women’s championship at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Saturday.
In the semifinals on Friday, Prarthana, with a 6-3, 7-5 win, got the better of sixth-seeded Nidhi Chilumula.
The result of the other last-four clash wasn’t as predictable as Eetee rallied to beat Natasha Palha 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
In the first set, Natasha played in much the same way that she had thus far in the tournament. There was decisiveness in her service-game besides the calculated approaches to the net. As Natasha went 4-1 up, it was only a question of when she would bag the set.
Trailing 1-3 in the second, Eetee embarked upon slowing down the points. This, the 18-year-old later said, had given her the upper hand. Even as Eetee went on to make it 4-3, her opponent from Goa refused to relent. At this stage, with neither player’s service compromised, there was little to choose between the two.
Natasha, barely managing to avoid being broken in the 10th game, made it 5-5. But she could do nothing to prevent Eetee’s rampaging run in the next two games. Locating difficult angles with her groundstrokes, the spunky Eetee drained Natasha of her energy.
Nonetheless, Natasha showed signs of resurgence in the third set. After being 0-2 down, she won three games thanks to some fine retrieval skills. Just when it looked like Natasha had cracked the code, her twin double-faults in the crucial sixth game derailed her momentum. Eetee made capital of her rival’s slip-up and ran away with the match.
Later in the afternoon, the third-seeded pair of Sharrmadaa Baluu and Rishika defeated Prarthana and Natasha 6-0, 7-6(4) in the doubles final.
After a lopsided first set, the top-seeded Prarthana-Natasha duo put up a fight in the second, but it proved inadequate. The victors, Sharrmadaa and Rishika, received 12 WTA points each.
The results: Singles: Semifinals: Prarthana Thombare bt Nidhi Chilumula 6-3, 7-5; Eetee Maheta bt Natasha Palha 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Doubles: Final: Rishika Sunkara & Sharrmadaa Baluu bt Prarthana G. Thombare & Natasha Palha 6-0, 7-6(4).