Eighth seed Chun-Yan He of China shocked top seed Anastasia Malhotra of Japan in three sets to storm into the final of the Mother's Recipe US $10,000 ITF Women's Futures Tennis Tournament in Mumbai on Friday.
Underdog Chun-Yan fashioned an impressive 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-1 semi-final win over Malhotra in a match that lasted three hours.
In the final, Chun-Yan will face Seo-Kyung Kang of Korea, who ended the campaign of qualifier Moe Kawatoko of Japan with a 6-1, 6-3 win in the second semi-final.
India's Rushmi Chakravarthi and Isha Lakhani denied Chun-Yan a double crown following an exciting 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 victory in the doubles final where the Chinese lass was paired with Renee Binnie of Australia.
"Both of us have played together previously, so it was obviously great winning the tournament after we lost the singles," said Rushmi.
"I think the turning point of the match was when we got a breakthrough at 4-3 and this is where we started playing up to our potential especially after losing the first set. I do agree that there was a time when I lost my temper but each time Rushmi came up to me and calmed me down," explained Isha.
"It's just that they played better than us. We had a stronghold over the game and we won the first set. But it was in the second set that we missed some few important volleys and this is where we could have done better," said Renee Binnie.
Chakravarthi and Lakhani earned $637 and 10 points, while Chun-Yan and Binnie earned $343 and six points.
Anastasia Malhotra made a premature exit from the competition after an ominous start when the focused and determined Chun-Yan earned an early break in the second game of the opening set and held serve for a 3-0 lead.
Chun-Yan was strong on the forehand and thrived on her trips to the net for crucial winners as she triggered the systematic destruction of the favourite.
In contrast, Malhotra struggled to find the form to match her reputation, as her game was littered with blemishes including hitting returns wide and long and into the net.
Malhotra's indifferent form showed in the fifth game when she squandered three break points, at 15-40 and after the third deuce when Chun-Yan saved one to take the game for a 4-1 lead with a winner off a high return.
Malhotra received another setback in the sixth game when she trailed 0-30 and 30-40 on serve. But she managed to save the break point and held serve after deuce.
Games went with serve until the set was forced into the tie-breaker, but not before high drama in the 11th and 12th games.
Malhotra enjoyed two break points at 15-40 in the 11th but Chun-Yan saved both to hold serve after deuce for a 6-5 lead.
Malhotra should have wrapped up the next game after leading 40-30 on serve, but Chun-Yan struck a winner for deuce.
The Chinese lass again reached break point after Malhotra's return found the net. But the latter saved it with a high return that was beyond Chun-Yan's reach as she struggled to rush back from the net, before forcing the tie-breaker.
Malhotra flirted with danger in the tie-breaker when she trailed 1-4 with a slew of errors. Her misery didn't end there as Chun-Yan led 6-4 and enjoyed two more break points.
But Malhotra relied on her resources and fought back gamely to win the next four points in a row to snatch the tie-breaker and the set.
Strangely, Malhotra lost her way after the gruelling first set as Chun-Yan earned a remarkable four breaks, in reply to the former's break in the second game, to snatch the second set.
A broken toe nail and later a twisted toe hampered Malhotra's progress in the third set as Chun-Yan earned breaks in the fourth and sixth games to seal the set and match.
Semi-finals: Chun-Yan He (China) bt Anastasia Malhotra (Japan) 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-1; Seo-Kyung Kang (Korea) bt Moe Kawatoko (Japan) 6-1, 6-3.
Doubles final: Rushmi Chakravarthi/Isha Lakhani (India) bt Renee Binnie (Aus)/Chun-Yan He (China) 2-6, 6-3, 10-7.
Semi-finals: Rushmi Chakravarthi/Isha Lakhani (India) bt Marisa Gianotti/Kristina Pejkovic (Australia) 7-5, 6-4; Renee Binnie (Aus)/Chun-Yan He (China) bt Lisa Marshall (SA)/Keren Shlomo (Israel) 6-1, 6-2.