Tennis

Terrific Irina brings down Dalila

Great escape: Irina Khromacheva held her nerve to in tight situations to come up trumps.

Great escape: Irina Khromacheva held her nerve to in tight situations to come up trumps.  

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Comes from behind in both sets to storm into final

The Moscow-born Russian Irina Khromacheva trailed 0-3 and 1-4 in the first and second sets of her semifinal against a much higher-ranked opponent in Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic in the $125000 L&T Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India courts on Saturday.

But after a see-saw skirmish for one and a half hours, it was the 23-year-old Russian Irina who walked away a convincing winner at 6-4,7-5 and put herself in contention for the top prize of $20000 and 160 WTA points.

Intelligent tennis

Irina, ranked 165 in the world, played exceptional and intelligent tennis and, in the face of adversity, believed in her prowess to win the big points that stunned her rival.

The two had entered the centre court after a fine semifinal doubles contest that Bibiane Schoofs (the Netherlands) and Barbara Stefkova (Czech Republic) won over two sets and the 10-point super tie-breaker, and the Saturday evening crowd had their fill.

Earlier this year, Dalila had beaten Irina on a hard court tournament in Mexico after a three-set defeat on clay in a Budapest ITF the previous year. Dalila, who has tasted almost an equal number of wins in hard and clay this year, took a 3-0 lead. She closed the opening game with her double-fisted backhand, the second with a firm forehand finish and third on the sixth point.

Against run of play

The momentum shift happened much against the run of play. Not to be perturbed by the situation she was in, Irina played fluent tennis from behind the baseline, showed a lot of cunning and deployed the lob-ball to break the rhythm of Dalila.

Irina won five games in a row and plenty of variety marked her return shots, including the facile drops.

After claiming the second set, Irina won a mere one point of the next 13 as Dalila raced to a 3-0 lead and stretched it to 4-1, before Irina upset Dalila with a series of high balls, won three games to trail 3-5.

Dalila dropped the ninth game which enabled the persevering Russian to tighten her game, and take the next three games and the match.

The results (semifinals): Irina Khromacheva (Rus) bt Dalila Jakopovic (Svn) 6-4, 7-5.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 4:51:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/terrific-irina-brings-down-dalila/article25414557.ece

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