Prerna to face Natasha in ITF Gulbarga Open final

Gulbarga, Nov 27 (IANS) The top two seeds Prerna Bhambri and Natasha Palha lived up to their billing to set up a title clash with convincing victories in the women’s singles semi-finals of the ITF Gulbarga Open here on Friday.

The fourth seeded pair of Karman Kaur Thandi and Druthi Tatachar Venugopal proved too good for second seeds Nidhi Chilumula and Eetee Maheta, winning their second successive women’s double title here.

Last week Karman and Druthi claimed the ITF title at the same stadium and with this win have added 12 more points to their kitty and shared $637 between them. Nidhi and Eetee had to be content with seven points and $343.

“It has been a great two weeks for us and we are happy with back-to back titles,” said Karman.

Second seed Natasha downed an off colour Eetee 6-1, 6-3 and top seed Prerna, chasing a hat-trick of titles here, breezed past Thai Tamachan Momkoonthod 6-1, 6-2.

Natasha, playing good tennis throughout the week, raced away to a 3-1 lead in the first set, breaking her opponent in the second game. Eetee was all at sea against the determined second seed, managing to hold serve just once in the first set, in the fourth game, with Natasha winning the next three to clinch the set.

In superb form, Natasha broke Eetee in the first game of the second set. But the Gujarat lass showed glimpses of coming back when she broke the second seed in the sixth game to level scores at 3-all.

However, that was all Eetee could manage as the Goan second seed upped her game to win the next three games, breaking Eetee in the seventh and ninth games to move into the final.

The second semi-final was a lop-sided affair with Prerna spending all of 48 minutes on court to send the Thai player packing.

“I am happy to be in my third final here and I am looking forward to a hat-trick of wins here. I am excited and at the same time I played my best tennis of the two weeks here in this semi-final. So I am confident going into the final,” said Bhambri.

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