ITF Women's tournament: Yubarani defeats Shruti, enters semifinal

It was her maiden entry into the semifinals for the 21-year-old Yubarani, who thus justified the faith that had fetched a wild card entry.

Photo of Yubarani Banerjee who reached the semifinals of the ITF women's tennis tournament in Gurugram on Friday.

Yubarani Banerjee unleashed a crafty game to beat the young Shruti Ahlawat 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, on Friday.

It was her maiden entry into the semifinals for the 21-year-old Yubarani, who thus justified the faith that had fetched a wild card entry.

Short of build but stout hearted and one who competes hard, Yubarani served and stroked with purpose in not allowing Shruti to unleash her power game.

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The former coach of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams, Enrico Piperno, who had supported Yubarani for her tennis for about eight years through his Foundation, was happy with her progress.

‘’Yubarani is a strong girl both mentally and physically. She has a great attitude.  She has a good solid game and sound technique. She has a lot of potential’’, said Piperno from Kolkata.

Having played five rounds of singles including three in the qualifying event last week in Jhajjar, albeit on clay, Yubarani was match sharp in capitalising on the favourable flow.

In three matches so far on the hard courts, she has not dropped a set. It will be interesting to see how well she handles the challenge from the third seed Punnin Kovapitukted of Thailand who thrived on the pace and bounce in outplaying Shrivalli Bhamidipaty for the loss of four games.

Shrivalli had thrice lost to Punnin in the international circuit at home in 2019, and that had perhaps plagued her confident approach, and paved the way for a fourth defeat as much as the Thai’s fluent game.

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Top seed Zeel Desai did not break into a sweat in getting past Sathwika Sama for the loss of two games, and will play her doubles partner Vaidehi Chaudhari in the semifinals The latter did not play a point as her opponent Sravya Shivani retired with a stomach muscle pull.

In doubles, semifinals, Zeel and Vaidehi put up a good show but erred in the super tie-break in bowing out to the top seeds and champions of last event, Anna Ureke and Punnin Kovapitukted.

The Russian-Thai combination will be challenged by Shrivalli and Humera Baharmus who combined well to beat Sai Samhitha and Soha Sadiq in straight sets.

The results:

Singles (quarterfinals): Zeel Desai bt Sathwika Sama 6-1, 6-1; Vaidehi Chaudhari bt Sravya Shivani 0-0 (retired); Punnin Kovapitukted (Tha) bt Shrivalli Bhamidipaty 6-2, 6-2; Yubarani Banerjee bt Shruti Ahlawat 6-4, 6-3.

Doubles (semifinals): Punnin Kovapitukted (Tha) & Anna Ureke (Rus) bt Vaidehi Chaudhari & Zeel Desai 7-5, 5-7, [10-6]; Humera Baharmus & Shrivalli Bhamidipaty bt Sai Samhitha & Soha Sadiq 6-2, 6-4.

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