Qualifier Kanika Vaidya reached the semifinals of the ONGC $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament, knocking out fifth seed Shweta Rana 6-2, 7-5 at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.
Kanika won the first set easily but found herself 0-3 down in the second as Shweta broke serve twice.
However, the 18-year-old, who has reached the last-four stage at this level only once before, fought her way back to 4-4. Both players held serve in the next three games. When Shweta served at 5-6, Kanika raced to two match points and converted the first to claim victory.
Kanika, coached by Shivang Mishra, has not dropped a set since the qualifying rounds. In the semifinals, Kanika will take on second seed Rishika Sunkara, who defeated Sharmada Balu 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted two hours and 40 minutes.
After winning the first set, Rishika lost her grip in the second. She let Sharmada escape from 30-40 to hold serve in the final game.
The decider saw both players, by turns, squander two-game leads. Rishika tossed away a 2-0 advantage to trail 2-4 before hitting back to win the final four games.
Serving at 4-5, Sharmada led 40-30 before a couple of unforced errors gave her opponent an opportunity to close out the match. A long rally ensued and Rishika won the contest when Sharmada netted a backhand.
In the other semifinal, Natasha Palha will take on top seed Ankita Raina. Natasha also had to battle for more than two-and-a-half hours for a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Nidhi Chilumula. In contrast, Ankita eased to a 6-1, 6-4 win over sixth seed Eetee Maheta.
The results (quarterfinals): Ankita Raina bt Eetee Maheta 6-1, 6-4; Natasha Palha bt Nidhi Chilumula 6-2, 2-6, 6-4; Kanika Vaidya bt Shweta Rana 6-2, 7-5; Rishika Sunkara bt Sharmada Balu 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Doubles (semifinals): Ankita Raina & Shweta Rana bt Naomi Totka (Hun) & Rishika Sunkara 4-6, 6-4, 11-9; Sharmada Balu & Sowjanya Bavisetti bt Ching-Wen Hsu (Tpe) & Nidhi Chilumula 6-4, 3-6, 10-8.