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Oman tennis star Fatma storms into Bangalore final


Second seed Fatma Al Nabhani defeated Rishika Sunkara to set up title showdown with Ching-Wen Hsu of Chinese Taipei. Photo supplied

Bangalore: Fifth seed Ching-Wen Hsu knocked out top seed Prarthana Thombare 6-4, 6-2 to storm into the final of the Zuari Garden City Open ITF Women's tennis tournament here on Friday.

Hsu will take on second seed Fatma Al Nabhani who overcame fourth seed Rishika Sunkara 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the second semifinal.

Thombare, who was expected to breeze into the title round, was a mere shadow of herself in comparison to her Chinese Taipei opponent, who lifted her game when the occasion demanded.

Thombare was broken in the very first game of the contest and that set the trend for her downfall. Hsu broke the Indian again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. The top seed showed signs of recovery when she broke her opponent in the sixth and eighth games to level game scores, but was broken in the ninth and that was enough for the fifth seed to pocket the first set.

The second set saw Thombare broken in the third, fifth and seventh games, and though she broke back in the sixth, a niggling muscle strain did not help matters. Even off-court treatment and change of attire did not change Thombare's stars.

The second semifinal saw the second seed Omani dominating for the better part of the contest. Both players seemed to hit lows in their game although, Rishika did so more often. The first set saw Rishika actually hold serve just once while breaking Fatma Al Nabhani twice and being broken thrice.

In the second set, the Indian broke Fatma in the first game and stayed ahead till the seventh game before being broken in the eighth. But she broke back immediately to wrest the initiative and ensured the decider would come into play.

The form of her second set play deserted Rishika as Fatma, playing with a taped palm due to blisters, raised her game breaking the fourth seed Indian in the third and fifth games to breeze into the final to be played today.

Results: Singles (semifinals): 5-Ching-Wen Hsu (TPE) bt 1-Prarthana Thombare (IND) 6-4, 6-2; 2-Fatma Al Nabhani (OMA) bt 4-Rishika Sunkara (IND) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

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