Eetee Maheta mounted a stirring comeback to upset eighth seed Natasha Palha 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals of the $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.
Serving at 3-5 in the second set, Eetee found herself 15-30 down, but responded by winning the next four games to turn the tide. In the final set, the 17-year-old broke Natasha in the sixth game and converted her second match point two games later to reach her maiden final at this level.
Eetee, who resides in Patan (Gujarat) and is coached by Jignesh Rawal, had lost to the 19-year-old Natasha in their only earlier meeting. The former National junior champion worked the angles well to outplay Natasha and the latter suffered as she lacked a finishing stroke.
Eetee will play favourite Ankita Raina in the final, to whom she has lost twice in as many meetings. Second seed Ankita outplayed Shweta Rana 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal.
20-year-old Ankita took a 5-3 lead in the opening set when she held serve for the first time. After converting her fourth set point, Ankita overpowered Shweta as she cut out the errors and took advantage of the latter’s sloppy play.
In the doubles final, the Indo-Hungarian duo of Rishika Sunkara and Naomi Totka survived three match points to pip Natasha Palha and Prarthana Thombare 6-4, 4-6, 13-11 in a thrilling contest.
The results: Semifinals: Eetee Maheta bt Natasha Palha 1-6, 7-5, 6-2; Ankita Raina bt Shweta Rana 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles: Final: Naomi Totka (Hun) & Rishika Sunkara bt Natasha Palha & Prarthana Thombare 6-4, 4-6, 13-11.