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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Isha manages to enter final

By Kamesh Srinivasan

NEW DELHI, JAN. 23. Top-seeded Isha Lakhani, who was hampered by a painful knee, limped into the final after defeating Thassha Vitayaviroj 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-3 in the $10,000 ITF women's tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

In the two hour duel, in which there were as many as 14 breaks of serve, both players tended to play some loose shots that took the sheen away from some interesting rallies.

The Asian junior champion, the left-handed Isha decided to just stay on court and keep the ball in play after calling for medical attention for a painful knee at the end of the second set. Though she sensed that her opponent was in trouble, Thassha was unable to capitalise on the situation and erred, while Isha came up with a gritty display.

Isha could well have clinched the issue in straight sets, but for her inability to hold serve while serving for the first set at 5-4. Quite uncharacteristically, she dropped that game with a doublefault. Her serve lacked the sting this day, but Isha managed to just place the ball in play in the latter part of the match, and that bailed her out of trouble as Thassha tended to be erratic with her returns. Isha did well to save two setpoints in the tie-break but put a forehand wide in losing the initiative on the third set point.

Thassha broke Isha in the first game of the second set, but the diminutive Indian lass retaliated nicely with breaks in the second and fourth games to gain a grip over the proceedings. More than that, she saved two breakpoints in holding serve in the fifth game, and that proved decisive in the match meandering into the decider.

Into the third set, Isha broke Thassha decisively in the seventh game, after an exchange of four breaks, and smacked a backhand crosscourt winner on gamepoint to win the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. Thassha was unable to cling on to the match thereafter.

Isha will face another Thai girl, fourth-seeded Montinee Tangphong, who recovered from a slow start to beat seventh-seeded Giorgia Mortello of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

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