Ankita rallies to reach semis

Second-seeded Ankita Raina for the second successive day had to claw her way back into the match for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over fifth-seeded fellow Pune player Prarthana Thombare to enter the semifinals of the $10,000 ITF women’s tournament at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex on Thursday.  

Ankita, who plays Delhi’s Shweta Rana next, though, was quick to get off the blocks to claim a 3-0 lead but slumped to a steam of errors to allow Prarthana to even out things.

Prarthana grew better as the set progressed, stroking and serving with flair, to turn around the tables. She took the decisive break in the 10th game when Ankita’s forehand crosscourt sailed long to go up a set.  

But Ankita returned bringing in more consistency to her groudstrokes and soon the pressure was on Prarthana. As Ankita began to dictate the rallies with more power, Prarthana perished while trying to match her pace.

Ankita broke her in the seventh game to put her nose in front and reeled off the next two games to make it a set all.

In the decider, it was Ankita all the way with Prarthana losing her spirit as well as composure to throw in the towel after a two hour and 20 minutes slugfest, the longest of all quarterfinal matches in the day.

Eighth-seeded Natasha Palha and Eetee Maheta will play the second semifinals.
Natasha barely broke sweat in her 6-2, 6-1 victory over Ambika Pande while Maheta ended the run of giant-killer Shreya Pasricha, who had taken out top-seeded Japanese Mai Minokoshi on Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-4 win.

Meanwhile Shweta, seeded sixth, rallied to register an upset win over third-seeded Rishika Sunkara 1-6, 6-0, 6-1. 

Women's singles (Quarterfinals, Indians unless mentioned): Eetee Maheta bt Shreya Pasricha 6-2, 6-4; 8-Natasha Palha bt Ambika Pande 6-2, 6-1; 6-Shweta Rana bt 3-Rishika Sunkara 1-6, 6-0, 6-1; 2-Ankita Raina bt 5-Prarthana Thombare 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

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