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Prerna Bhambri clinches Gulbarga tennis crown

Gulbarga: India's Prerna Bhambri lived up to her top billing to come from a set down and defeat unseeded compatriot Riya Bhatia 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to clinch the singles crown at the Gulbarga ITF $10,000 Women's Tennis Tournament in Gulbarga on Saturday.

In the final, Riya and Prerna dished out top class tennis that had the near capacity crowd at the Chandrashekar Patil Stadium cheering every point. The contest lasted two hours and 32 minutes with both players giving it their best.

The first set saw games going with serves till 5-4 and Prerna serving to stay in the set. Leading 40-15, Prerna committed two double faults to set up deuce. She held advantage twice and each time Riya levelled. The one break point that Riya got, she converted to claim the set.

The second set saw service games being traded. Riya claimed the first three, breaking Prerna in the second game. Prerna repeated the feat, winning the next three. The players then held serves till 5-5 before Prerna broke Riya and then served out to clinch the set 7-5.

Prerna moved into top gear in the decider breaking Riya in the first and seventh games while being broken in the sixth.

Riya did have her chances at another break in the eighth game but the top seed dug deep into her reserves to hold serve and served out for the match to claim the winner's cheque of Rs.1,19,059 and 12 ITF Points.

This is the third title for Bhambri, who won the Fenesta Open Nationals and the Lucknow Open. Riya had to be content with seven ITF points.

Doubles winners Druthi Tatachar Venugopal and Karman Kaur Thandi shared Rs.42,000 while runners-up Prerna and Kanika Vaidya shared Rs.22,700. Druthi and Karman earned 12 doubles points and the runners-up earned seven points.

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