Sharrmadaa rallies to stun fancied Natasha

Sharrmadaa rallies to stun fancied Natasha

Top seed Prarthana has it easy against Mahitha; Rushmi advances into second round

Sharrmadaa rallies to stun fancied Natasha

Top seed Pra­rthana Thombare and unse­eded local lass Sharrmadaa Baluu registered contrasting wins to enter the second round of the Zuari Garden City Open $10,000 ITF  women’s tennis tournament at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association stadium here on Tuesday.

Prarthana faced no real scare from her opponent as she made short work of Mahitha Dadi Reddy 6-2, 6-2 to reach the second round. On the other hand, Sharrmadaa prevailed in a see-saw battle, rallying from being a set down, to upset third seed Natasha Palha.

In a match that lasted just over three hours, the Bangalore girl held her nerve to set aside some tense moments and win 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2.

In the first set, Sharrmadaa broke twice to take a 3-1 lead and looked good to bag the first set. But a resilient Natasha broke back twice and held on to her serve to make the score 4-4. With both the players refusing to give in, the set went into tie-break where Natasha battled hard and forced quite a few unforced errors from her opponent to take the set 7-6 (9-7).

The second set started on a disastrous note for Sharrmadaa as she went 0-4 down and stared at defeat against a dominant Natasha. The fifth game of the set proved to be crucial as the 20-year-old broke the third seed to win her first game.

From then on there was no looking back for Sharrmadaa as she overpowered her opponent with some brilliant forehand play and solid baseline hitting to level the score at 4-4. With better control over her shots, Sharrmadaa won the set 6-4 to take the game into the decider.

Carrying on the momentum, Sharrmadaa, with an improved first serve and powerful two-handed backhand returns, made short work of Natasha to claim the set with ease and the match.

Meanwhile, it was curtains for Pakistani player Ushna Suhail as she was ousted by fifth seed Ching-Wen Hsu of Taipei 6-3, 6-1.

Other Indians reaching the second round were Rushmi Chakravarthi, Shwetha Rana, Eetee Maheta and Sri Vaishnavi Reddy.

Results: Singles first round (prefix denotes seeding, Indians unless mentioned otherwise): 5- Ching-Wen HSU (Tpe) bt Ushna Suhail (Pak) 6-3, 6-1; 1- Prarthana Thombare bt Ma­h­itha Dadi Reddy 6-2, 6-2; Rushmi Chakravarthi bt Bhuvana Kalva 6-1, 6-1; Sri Vaishnavi Reddy bt Riya Bhatia 7-6 (6), 6-3; Sharrmadaa Baluu bt Natasha Palha 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2;Sri Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy bt Riya Bhatia 7-5 (6), 6-3.

Doubles: 1- Fatma Al Nabhani (Oma)/ Rishika Sunkara bt Ushna Suhail (Pak)/ Karman Kaur Thandi 6-7 (5), 6-0, 10-7; Snehadevi S Reddy/ Dhruthi Tatachar bt Chun-Yan HE (Chn)/ Adn­ya Naik 7-6 (6), 6-1; Vaniya Dangwal/ Amrita Mukherjee bt Mahitha Dadi Reddy/ Sharon Sanchana Paul 7-5, 6-0.