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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.

Quarterfinal results:

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). 


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    Basavaraj Harsur


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