THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Top seed Isha Lakhani found form in the nick of time to stave off the challenge from fifth-seeded Prerana-Mythri Appineni 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the singles quarterfinals of the BSNL-Kerala Open international women’s tennis tournament at the TTC courts here on Thursday.
Lakhani will meet third seed Sanaa Bhambri in the semifinals on Friday, while the other round of last four outing will be between sixth-seeded Miki Miyamura (Japan) and her South Korean doubles partner Min-Hwa Yu.
Miyamura was helped by the withdrawal of second seeded Rushmi Chakravarthi, who was seen writhing in pain caused by injuries to her right shoulder and elbow once again, while Yu defeated Poojashree Venkatesha 7-5, 6-3.
The Japanese-Korean combine, later in the day, also made it to the doubles final, winning their semifinal against Appineni and Belgium’s Goele Lemmens 6-1, 6-3. The other semifinal was also a one-sided affair as Poojashree Venkatesha and Magda Okruashvili (Georgia) shut out Sanaa Bhambri and Kumari-Sweta Solanki 6-4, 6-1.
The Lakhani-Appineni encounter was easily the best of all the four quarterfinals, with the top seed initially struggling to contain the flow of unforced errors against an opponent who took her chances and sought to unsettle Lakhani with a consistent baseline display.
However, having lost the closely-fought first set with her serve being broken in the 10th game, Lakhani changed tracks to book a passage into the semifinals.
The ploy of controlling her usual aggression and backing it with a sustained attempt to lengthen the rallies did wonders to the confidence of Lakhani, who worked herself to an early lead in the second and then kept Appineni’s effort to stage a comeback at bay.
The decider too happened to be a similar story before the left-handed Lakhani proved her class and marched on.
Rushmi, who had struggled much before entering the quarterfinals after injuring her right shoulder during her match against Shalini Sahoo on Wednesday, was down 3-0 against Miyamura in the first set when she pulled out.
The results (Indians unless specified): Singles: Quarterfinals: Isha Lakhani bt Prerana-Mythri Appineni 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Sanaa Bhambri bt Geeta Manohar 7-5, 6-3; Min-Hwa Yu (Kor) bt Poojashree Venkatesha 6-3, 7-5; Miki Miyamura (Jpn) bt Rushmi Chakravarthi 3-0 (conceded).
Doubles: Semifinals: Poojashree Venkatesha & Magda Okruashvili (Geo) bt Sanaa Bhambri & Kumari-Sweta Solanki 6-4, 6-1; Miki Miyamura (Jpn) & Min-Hwa Yu (Kor) bt Prerana-Mythri Appineni & Goele Lemmens (Bel) 6-1, 6-3. — Special Correspondent