"The momentum was now with Eetee as she led 2-0 in the third. However, Natasha recovered to take 3-2 lead on two service breaks but dropped serve in the sixth after three deuces."
Chennai, April 11 - Top seed Prarthana Thombare and Eetee Maheta advanced to the singles final of the K.S. Narayanan Memorial ITF Women's Futures tennis tournament here Friday with hard-fought victories.

In the semi-finals, the experienced Thombare overcame sixth seeded Nidhi Chiluma 6-3, 7-5 while seventh seeded Maheta fought off No.2 Natasha Palha 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

In an all-India doubles final, third seeded Sharmadaa Baluu and Rishika Sunkara surprised top ranked Palha and Thombare 6-0, 7-6-. The winning pair received Rs.18,800 each and 12 WTA points.

Prarthana won an error-ridden first set against an energetic Nidhi 6-3. However, Nidhi fought hard in the second set to break Prarthana in the third game to lead 2-1, only to immediately drop serve with two double faults.

The two then matched each other stroke-for-stroke to tie 5-all when Prarthana broke Nidhi in the 11th and then held serve to wrap up the match.

In the other semi-final, Natasha had a whirlwind start for a 4-1 lead, conceding only three points in her winning games. Eetee then held her serve after the second deuce and broke Natasha after four deuces to reduce the lead to 4-3.

The double fault by Eetee in the next game gave Natasha a 5-3 lead and then held serve to take the first set 6-3.

The second set was played on more even terms with the players conceding two breaks each to level scores at 5-all. A fluent stroking Eetee played positive and consistent tennis to hold her serve and broke Natasha to win the second set 7-5.

The momentum was now with Eetee as she led 2-0 in the third. However, Natasha recovered to take 3-2 lead on two service breaks but dropped serve in the sixth after three deuces.

This seemed to have drained Natasha and an inspired Eetee raised her game to win the next three games conceding only four points.


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