Prerna, Eetee enter Gulbarga Open last four

Gulbarga, Nov 26 (IANS) Prerna Bhambri was tested on court for the second successive day but the top seed showcased her class, rallying each time she was down to script a 6-4, 7-5 victory over sixth seed Nidhi Chilumula to storm into the women’s singles semifinals of the ITF Gulbarga Open here on Thursday.

In an upset at the tournament, seventh seed Eetee Maheta sent fourth seed Prarthana Thombare packing with a convincing 6-1, 6-3 verdict to get into the last four.

“Everything went wrong today. If even one shot was working I would have been alright. I could not get that one shot going and it was a terrible day. My serves were also bad and my returns were bad,” lamented Prarthana.

The quarterfinal between Prerna and Nidhi began with the players trading breaks in the first two games. They then fought hard to hold serves till the ninth game. Serving to stay in the match, Nidhi found Prerna returns too hot handle and she also made it difficult for herself by serving two double faults to lose the first set.

In the second set Nidhi was holding a 4-2 lead after she had broken Prerna in the third game. But the top seed showed her prowess, winning the next three games to lead 5-4.

Prerna saw two set points being saved by Nidhi in the 10th game. However, in the 12th game, Bhambri enjoyed two match points, converting the first opportunity.

The match between Eetee and Prarthana turned out to be one-sided. The higher seed managed to hold serve in the fifth game of the first set as her opponent raised the level of her game to breeze to a 6-1 win in the first set.

The second set saw Prarthana attempting to make a match of it, rallying from 0-3 to level at 3-all. But her form slacked again and Eetee claimed the next three games to wrap up the match.

Thai Tamachan Momkoonthod made short work of qualifier Aastha Dargude, breezing into the last four with a 6-2, 6-0 win and second seed Natasha Palha bested unseeded compatriot Sai Samhitha Chamarthi 6-1, 6-4.

Prerna will take on Momkoonthod and Natasha will clash with Eetee in the semifinals on Friday.

In women’s doubles, fourth seeds Druthi and Karman outclassed unseeded Riya and Shweta 6-1, 6-3 and will take on second seeds Nidhi and Eetee, who defeated third seeds and last week’s finalists Prerna and Kanika Vaidya 7-6(7), 6-3.

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