Zeel Desai was the sole Indian in the semifinals after she beat Humera Baharmus 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in an entertaining quarterfinal contest in the $15,000 ITF women’s tennis here on Friday.
In a hard-fought baseline battle that lasted nearly three hours, it was the calm approach and sound strokes of Zeel that prevailed over the gutsy Humera, who lacked the experience at this level.
The fourth seeded Zeel will now play the seventh seeded Pia Lovric of Slovenia, who was pushed to her wit’s end by the explosive game of Jennifer Luikham. The Slovenian prevailed 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in an energy-sapping contest that lasted three hours and 13 minutes under a scorching sun.
Jennifer had beaten top seed Riya Bhatia in the earlier round and showed hints of a bright career ahead for herself. Jennifer should be a powerful player to reckon with once she gathers experience in the international circuit.
Third seed Rutuja Bhosale fought equally hard despite not being at her best and was tamed by the tall eighth seed Adrienn Nagy of Hungary in three sets.
The fourth quarterfinal also went to three sets as doubles partners Irina Khromacheva of Russia and second seed Miriam Bianca Bulgaru of Romania engaged in a no holds barred fight. Irina pulled through after losing the first set. The duo, seeded No. 1, gave a walkover to Lovric and Nagy in the doubles semifinals.
Sowjanya Bavisetti and Prarthana Thombare were given a scare by the young pair of Yubarani Banerjee and Vaidehi Chaudhari before experience won in the end, 10-8 in the super tie-break.
The results: Singles: Quarterfinals: Pia Lovric (Slo) bt Jennifer Luikham 7-5, 5-7, 7-5; Zeel Desai bt Humara Baharmus 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; Adrienn Nagy (Hun) bt Rutuja Bhosale 6-1, 3-6, 6-2; Irina Khromacheva (Rus) bt Miriam Bianca Bulgaru (Rou) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles: Semifinals: Lovric & Nagy w/o Bulgaru & Khromacheva; Sowjanya Bavisetti & Prarthana Thombare bt Yubarani Banerjee & Vaidehi Chaudhari 7-6(7), 3-6, [10-8].