Gulbarga – A gritty Prerna Bhambri clawed her way into the semis of the US$10,000 ITF Gulbarga Open women’s futures tennis championship at the expense of injured Emily Webley Smith of Great Britain here at the Dr. Chandrashekar Patil Stadium Thursday.
Seeded second, Emily, who lost the first set 5-7 and led 2-1 in the second, twisted her ankle while going for a return from baseline.
The Brit sought a medical timeout and got back into action but could hardly move and conceded the match to Prerna.
The first set was marked by back-to-back breaks. Prerna stayed afloat with her steady returns while Emily struggled with her first serve.
Prerna held herself for a 6-5 lead and broke Emily decisively in the twelfth game to take the set.
Rushmi Chakravarthi‘s campaign also came to an end as she lost to her Chinese rival Nan Nan Zhang 6-7(2), 0-6 in the quarters.
The two traded breaks in the first two games and Rushmi had a great chance when she went 5-4 up with another break in the ninth game.
But the set went into a tie breaker and Zhang dominated the show as Rushmi netted thrice in a row to trail 2-5 and ultimately lost 2-7.
The second set was a whitewash as a resurgent Zhang simply out-hit her rival and won 6-0.
Chinese fourth seed Zi Yang also cruised into the semis with 6-1, 6-0 victory over wild card Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy.
Hard-hitting Ukranian teenager Oleksandra Korashivilli gave a torrid time to top seed Wang Yau Venise Chan with some aggressive tennis before going down 6-2, 6-7(0), 6-7(3).
Oleksandra, 16, set the pace in the first set winning 6-2 with two successive breaks in fifth and seventh games, respectively.
But Chan hit back in the second set to lead 5-2 before Oleksandra rallied to make it 5-all.
In the tie-breaker, the Ukranian girl’s errors proved costly and dropped it without taking a point.
In the decider, Chan led 5-1 before Oleksandra battled to level at 5-all.
The 16-year-old then lost the tie-breaker 3-7.
In Friday’s semifinals, top seed Chan meets the fourth seed Zi Yang while Prerna Bhambri meets Nan Nan Zhang of China.
Prerna Bhambri bt Emily Webley Smith 7-5, 2-1 retired; Nan Nan Zhang bt Rushmi Chakravarthi 7-6(2), 6-0; Zi Yang bt Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy 6-1, 6-0; Wang Yau Venise Chan bt Oleksandra Korashivilli 2-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(3).