Raina-Thombare pair in last four of ITF women`s meet

Mumbai: Wildcard entrants Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare on thursday made a surprise entry into the semi-finals of the USD 25,000 Ganesh Naik ITF women`s tennis championship at Vashi in Navi Mumbai.

In the quarter-finals, the Raina-Thombare pair scored a 7-5 6-4 win over Gioia Barbieri of Italy and Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel to book their semi-finals berth where they will meet the British pair of Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith.

The Rae-Smith combine upset second seeds Ksenia Palkina of Kyrgyzstan and Jade Windley of Britain 6-3 6-1 at the event organised by the Navi Mumbai Sports Association.

In the singles quarter-finals, where there was no home country interest, former world no. 84 in singles and no. 13 in the doubles on the WTA Tour Rika Fujiwara of Japan continued her winning spree with a facile 6-3 6-0 win in one hour over Ami Amiraghyan of Armenia in a clash of qualifiers.

Fujiwara, who has won five matches on a trot, had earlier toppled third seeded Basak Eraydin of Turkey in the second round.

In the semi-finals, she will take on another qualifier, 25-year-old Anna Smith of Britain, who edged out a tired looking Thai girl Peangtarn Plipuech 6-4 6-2 to win her fifth consecutive match in 1 hour 18 minutes.

Last week`s runners-up at Pune event, Kamila Kerimbayeva of Kazakhstan ousted eighth seeded Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia 6-3 6-3 in one hour 10 minutes to enter the last four.

In the semi-finals, 18-year-old Kamila will clash with top seeded Polish player Magda Linette ranked 152. Linette went through a harrowing time before overcoming a fighting Chinese Hao Chen Tang in the longest match of the day.

The Pole, looking for second title in a row, scored a 4-6 6-4 6-2 win in a match lasting over 2 hours.

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