Ankita pips Shruti

CHANDIGARH MAY 29. It was the battle of the champions. One was the first Indian girl to win the Masters title in a $ 5000 ITF women's circuit. The other was the one who had won a similar title about a month ago.

When the champion of 1998 met the current champion, it was the present that prevailed over the past, as the 15-year-old Ankita Bhambri pipped Shruti Dhawan 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the ITF women's circuit tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex here on Wednesday.

As expected, the sparks flew as the two girls projected a positive image of Indian women's tennis with their firebrand style of play that was attractive enough to keep a bunch of fans glued to their seats on the centrecourt for nearly three hours.

After overnight rain had delayed the start by about three and a half hours, the players got enough time to tune themselves for their matches. In the event, it was no surprise that both the 20-year-old Shruti and the solid-stroking Ankita came out firing straight away, putting their repertoire of strokes and athleticism with a majestic display.

In comparison, the top-seeded Sonal Phadke had an easy time against Samrita Sekar who had beaten her in the first leg of the last circuit. The third-seeded Sheethal Goutham was all guile as she recovered from being 0-2 down to reel off nine games in a row to wipe the hopes of the seventh-seeded Liza Pereira.

The results (quarterfinals):

Singles: Sonal Phadke bt Samrita Sekar 6-3, 6-3; Sheethal Goutham bt Liza Pereira 6-2, 6-4; Ankita Bhambri bt Shruti Dhawan 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-4; Archana Venkataraman bt Radhika Tulpule 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Doubles: Liza Pereira & Radhika Tulpule bt Archana Venkataraman & Arthi Venkataraman 6-2, 6-1; Radhika Mandke & Samrita Sekar bt Deepa Chakrabarty &Parul Goswami 6-0, 6-4; Ankita Bhambri & Sonal Phadke bt Iciri Rai & Medhini Sharma 6-4, 6-1; Shruti Dhawan & Sheethal Goutham bt Geeta Manohar & Reddhina Parekh 6-0, 6-4.

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