Mumbai, Mar 31 (UNI) Top seed Ankita Bhambri of India set up a title clash with qualifier Ito Kazusa of Japan following exciting semi-final wins in the Shivaji Park Gymkhana-ITF 10,000 dollars Women's Tennis Tournament here today.
Bhambri rallied from the loss of a tight opening set to beat Federation Cup team mate and third seed Isha Lakhani 6-7 (0-7), 6-3, 6-1, while Kazusa became the toast of the competition by reaching the final with an impressive 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 win over unseeded Nudnida Luangnam of Thailand.
Lakhani warmed up for her Federation Cup campaign when she grabbed a close opening set after trading a break with Bhambri. The early advantage set the stage for an upset, but Bhambri came back to take the second set.
Lakhani almost rattled Bhambri when she closed in at 3-5 after trailing 0-4. But Bhambri held on and forced the decider.
Bhambri tightened her grip in the third set and broke Lakhani in the first, third and seventh games to seal her win in a marathon two hours and 35 minutes.
In a contest that lasted an hour and 33 minutes, Kazusa got off to a dream start as she enjoyed a double break to lead 4-0 in the opening set.
But Luangnam, who has improved with every round, came back into the match and surprised Kazusa with a double break to level at 4-all before forcing the tie-breaker. The Thai girl's challenge fizzled out over extra points as Kazusa took control and snatched the set.
Kazusa took no chances in the second set and left no room for Luangnam to pose a threat as she cemented her place in her maiden final in the sub continent.
Results (Semi-finals): Ito Kazusa (Jpn) bt Nudnida Luangnam (Thai) 7-6 (7-1), 6-0; Ankita Bhambri (Ind) bt Isha Lakhani (Ind) 6-7 (0-7), 6-3, 6-1.
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