Resilient Eetee to face Ankita in title clash

Resilient Eetee to face Ankita in title clash

Just two points away from defeat, 17-year-old Eetee Maheta staged an impressive comeback in her semifinal match against Natasha Palha for a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory in the $10,000 ITF women’s tournament at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) stadium on Friday.

It was the teenager’s maiden ITF final, where she will be up against second-seeded Ankita Raina, who got the better of sixth-seeded Shweta Rana 6-3, 6-1.

Meanwhile, top seeds Rishika Sunkara of India and Hungary’s Naomi Totka won the doubles title, defeating Prarthana Thombare and Natasha Palha 6-4, 4-6 (13-11) in a keenly fought final.

It was a forgettable day for Natasha, who after comfortably folding the first set against an erratic opponent in the singles clash, was on the threshold of victory when she was 5-3 and 30-15 up in the second set. But in an unexpected turnaround, Eetee, the 12th standard student from Ahmedabad, pegged her back with some fearlessly hitting by taking four games on trot to make it set-all.

Things never looked up for Natasha after that. 

In the decider, a confident Eetee served with consistency and moved Natasha around the court with a series of punchy groundstrokes. She quickly established a 5-2 lead and won the set and match when Natasha double-faulted on the second match point.

Ankita had to overcome her errors against Shweta before wrapping up the match in two hours and 25 minutes. Both the players struggled to hold serves before Ankita held hers in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. She broke Shweta immediately to go up a set on her fourth set point with a forehand winner.
  Ankita then sprinted through the second set with Shweta making far too many unforced errors.

Results (Indians unless mentioned): Singles (semifinals): Eetee Maheta bt 8-Natasha Palha 1-6, 7-5, 6-2; 2-Ankita Raina bt Shweta Rana 6-3, 6-1.

Doubles: 1-Rishika Sunkara/ Naomi Totla (Hungary) bt 2-Natasha Palha/ Prarthana Thombare 6-4, 4-6, 13-11.