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Ankita to meet Rushmi in ITF tournament final


Gurgaon : Ankita Bhambri extended her winning sequence against Isha Lakhani as she dispatched the top seed in straight sets to enter the finals of the $10,000 ITF tournament at the National Tennis Academy (NTA) courts here Friday.

Ankita, seeded third, was clearly the better player on view and won 6-4, 6-4, with clever play and court craft.

Facing off for the 15th time at the international level, the two began slowly, but Ankita soon got the upper hand as Isha lacked the sharpness she showed in her previous matches. Isha’s game was bereft of any planning.

Left-handed Isha, however, began well breaking Ankita in the very first game rallying from 0-40. Thereafter both the players traded breaks save on game when Ankita held her serve in the third. Eventually, the break in the tenth game gave Ankita the first set.

A clipped toenail of the right foot left Ankita writhing in pain before the second set. She needed another medical time-out, but with Isha peppering errors, she had little to bother about her discomfort. Isha had a ray hope when she led 4-2after breaking Ankita in the fifth game. But the Delhi girl rallied to take the next four games to take the set and the match.

“ I was in great pain. But I am glad I pulled through. I was surprised the way Isha played today. She is usually very quick off the blocks, but today we both started slowly. With my toe hurting and trailing 2-4 in the second set, I thought the match will go to the third set. But I kept my cool, “ Ankita said.

Isha, however, had sweet revenge later in the day when she, partnering Russian Elina Gasanova, beat Bhambri sisters-Ankita and Sanaa 6-3, 6-4 to clinch the doubles title.

Ankita next meets fourth-seeded Rushmi Chakravarthy, who recovered in time to beat Korean Thuy-Dung Nguyen-6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

The match, interrupted by rain, carried on for over two hours and eventually the seniormost player on the Indian circuit just about managing to win.