Chennai: Top seed Prarthana Thombare managed to stave off a strong challenge from compatriot and seventh seed Eetee Maheta to win the singles title of ITF Women`s Futures tennis tournament here on Saturday.
Prarthana won 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in a marathon 210-minute contest under humid conditions.
It was credit to fitness of both players that they did not let up till the very end.
Eetee started the match on a positive note as she took a 2-0 lead only to concede the next three games as Prarthana gathered herself and began to play consistent deep ground strokes.
Prarthana led 3-2 and it was Eetee`s turn to play more assertively. Eetee captured four of the next five games breaking Prarthana twice, holding her own serve twice while conceding one break in the process of clinching the first set 6-4 and take the upper hand.
After a fairly long rest room break, the second set began with Eetee taking a 2-0 lead. At this point, Prarthana took a medical time out. The three minute medical time out seemed to have hurt Eetee`s concentration as Prarthana took five of the next six games to take the second set 6-3 and level the match.
The gritty, never-say-die attitude of Prarthana was competing against the fluent stroking and strong serving Eetee in a battle of nerves. Eetee led 3-0 and 4-1 and looked to be in the driver`s seat.
Prarthana clawed her way back point by point to level score at 4-game all. Eetee then held her serve with the help of strong forehands and a blistering backhand down the line to lead 5-4.
Prarthana, serving under pressure, was down 30-40, giving Eetee her first match point. It was frittered away with an error. Eetee once again held advantage only to fritter it away again.
Thereafter, Prarthana made no mistake and wrapped up the game. She gained 12 WTA points, besides a purse of Rs 93,000 USD 1350). Eettee got eight WTA points and Rs 59000 (USD 980).