The diminutive Shweta Rana sprang a surprise against third seed Rishika Sunkara with a 1-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Thursday.
The sixth-seeded Shweta played some gutsy tennis to run Rishika down after a slow start. The 19-year-old had managed to win a mere two singles matches in three tournaments recently in Marathon, Athens, but the exposure seemed to have battle-hardened her for the duels at home.
Shweta had beaten the tall Rishika last year also, but had lost to her five other times on the ITF women’s circuit. “I have not been playing many tournaments and was just training. I played aggressive today,” said Shweta, who will meet Ankita Raina in the semifinals.
The 20-year-old Ankita beat Shweta in the last four in Lucknow earlier this year, but had lost thrice to the Delhi girl in 2012. Quite confident after making the final of a $25,000 tournament in Uzbekistan, Ankita will be keen to improve her record further.
Ankita had to once again tackle an indifferent start to beat the free-stroking fifth seed Prarthana Thombare. After winning the first set 6-4, Prarthana led 3-1 in the second before imploding in dramatic fashion to lose the next nine games.
In fact, Ankita herself had frittered away a 3-0 advantage in the opening set as she won only two of the next 11 games. Prarthana gained from the second seed’s erratic groundstrokes but as the match wore on, she grew increasingly tired and Ankita emerged the stronger of the two. It was the third victory for the second seed over Prarthana in as many meetings.
In another quarterfinal, Shreya Pasricha, who had ousted the top-seeded Mai Minokoshi of Japan, met her match in Eetee Maheta as she bowed out 2-6, 4-6. Serving at 5-2 in the first set, Eetee saved five break points in surviving a marathon game and converted her fourth set point. In the second set, two break points were again saved at 5-4 before the 17-year-old converted her second match point.
In the semifinals, Eetee will be up against Natasha Palha who outplayed Ambika Pande for the loss of three games.
In doubles, Ankita and Rushmi Chakravarthi, who have won two titles as a pair, gave a walkover to Natasha and Prarthana as Rushmi pulled out with a foot injury.
Natasha and Prarthana will challenge the top seeds Naomi Totka of Hungary and Rishika in the final.
The results (quarterfinals): Eetee Maheta bt Shreya Pasricha 6-2, 6-4; Natasha Palha bt Ambika Pande 6-2, 6-1; Shweta Rana bt Rishika Sunkara 1-6, 6-0, 6-1; Ankita Raina bt Prarthana Thombare 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles (semifinals): Naomi Totka (Hun) and Rishika bt Nithya Raj and Victoria Chehal 6-0, 6-2; Natasha and Prarthana w/o Ankita and Rushmi Chakravarthi.