Three severely weary women and Natasha Palha, who was merely tired, made the semifinals of the Chennai ITF women’s tennis championship here on Thursday.
Ankita Raina had to conquer dehydration and bouts of vomiting in her come-from-behind 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal win over Eetee Maheta.
The top seed had shown she has good nerves under pressure in her first round against Rushmi Chakravarthi. She needed them again to fight back from 3-4 in the decider.
Ankita did recover sufficiently after her morning’s exertions to play and win her doubles semifinal with Rushmi under lights.
If anything, her semifinal opponent, Barbara Bonic, had it worse.
In an inspiring show of mind over matter, the seventh-seeded Serbian overcame a grade-1 abdominal tear to beat the fourth-seeded Prarthana Thombare 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Prarthana had an injured left wrist herself, and the frequent physio visits gave the Madras Gymkhana Club courts the atmosphere of an infirmary.
Prarthana played a sharp first set, taking the ball on the rise when returning to hurry her opponent into errors. But Bonic wouldn’t give up. Her serve was all right arm because she couldn’t extend her body into it. But her ground-strokes gave less trouble and she expertly chose her moment to force the pace.
Prarthana struggled with the power. She also grew tentative, fluffing overheads and spraying double-faults. Three games into the decider, her demeanour suggested that she had given up.
Australia’s Angelique Svinos was dominated by China’s Xi-Yao Wang in the first set. But she coped better with the heat and stayed alive by taking the second before Wang faded. The left-handed Svinos’ 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory earned her a last-four meeting with Natasha Palha.
Natasha’s 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Mahitha Dadi Reddy was the most straightforward result of the quarterfinals. But it was by no means an easy day’s work, for several games see-sawed between deuce and advantage. Mahitha, who made it through qualifying, had a commendable run in only her second ITF event.
But she paid the price for making too many mistakes, a lot of them unforced, against a player who didn’t need the generosity.
The results (Indians unless specified): Singles: Quarterfinals: Angelique Svinos (Aus) bt Xi-Yao Wang (Chn) 1-6, 6-4, 6-0; Ankita Raina bt Eetee Maheta 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Barbara Bonic (Srb) bt Prarthana G. Thombare 3-6, 6-4, 6-1; Natasha Palha bt Mahitha Dadi Reddy 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles: Semifinals: Rushmi Chakravarthi & Ankita Raina bt Sai Samhitha Chamarthi & Eetee Maheta 6-1, 7-6(1); Natasha Palha & Prarthana Thombare bt Nidhi Chilumula & Bhuvana Kalva 6-0, 6-3.