Rishika goes down fighting to Chinese rival in ITF tennis

Pune: India`s Rishika Sunkara was a point away from despatching third seed Jia-Jing Lu of China in the quarterfinals but wasted two match points to exit from the LIC-ITF Women`s Tennis Championships on Thursday.

The Delhi girl had made a splendid rally from 0-4 down in the deciding third set to hold a match-point at 5-4, 40-15, but was unable to deliver the knockout blow, allowing her Chinese rival to escape with a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) win.

Lu`s come-from-behind victory came after a bitter contest against Rishika, which lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes at the MSLTA School of tennis at the Mhalunge Balewadi Sports Complex here. It also ended the Indian challenge in singles.

Lu, ranked 504, will meet Serbian teenager Tamara Curovic in the semis. The latter got past top seed Sachie Ishizu (Japan) who forfeited the match when she went off the court midway into the third set.

The other semifinal will be an all-Thai contest between Peangtarn Plipuech and Nicha Lertipitaksinchai.

Rishika, ranked 856, commenced her battle against her Chinese opponent on a very confident note, breaking her rival in the 9th game to take a 5-4 lead before holding her serve to win the opening set.

However, Lu came back strongly in the second set, moving to the net at every opportunity to break the Indian in the 2nd and 4th games before easily taking the set 6-2 to level the scores.

Lu then came up with drive volley winners to go 4-0 up in the third set and looked like wrapping up the match before Rishika fought back.

The Delhi girl went for some daring winners to clinch 5 games in a row and took a 5-4 lead by breaking Lu`s serve in three successive games.

The tenacious Lu kept hanging and broke Rishika, who squandered two match points at 5-4, 40-15, in the 10th game to level scores at 5-5.

The Chinese survived another break point in the 11th game before the set went into the tie-break in which Lu played intelligently, forcing Rishika to commit errors and captured it 7-5 for the set and the match.

The Indian presence ended in the doubles too as Serb Tamara and Anna Shkudun of Ukraine ousted giant killers Sharmada Balu and Celine Cattaneo of France 6-1, 6-2 in the semi finals.

Results: Singles (Quarterfinals): Tamara Curovic (SRB) bt Sachie Ishizu (JPN) [1] 5-7, 6-2, 2-0 Default; Jia-Jing Lu (CHN) bt Rishika Sunkara (IND) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5); Peangtarn Plipuech (THA) bt Ksenia Kirillova (Rus) 7-6(2), 6-1; Nicha Lertipitaksinchai (Tha)(2) bt Anja Prislan (Slo)(6) 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles (Semi finals): Tamara Curovic (SRB)/Anna Shkudun (UKR)[4] bt Sharmada Balu (IND)/Celine Cattaneo (FRA) 6-1,6-2; Jia Xiang Lu (CHN)/Jia-Jing Lu (CHN) bt Shu-Ying Hsieh (TPE)/ Hua-Chen Lee (TPE) 6-4, 6-4.


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