Second seed Isha Lakhani and No 4 Rushmi Chakravarthi of India crashed out in the quarter-finals, in the Mother's Recipe US $10,000 ITF women's Futures Tennis Tournament on Thursday.
On a dramatic day of upsets and a disastrous one for India, qualifier Moe Kawatoko of Japan shocked favourite Lakhani 7-5, 7-5 in an absorbing contest that lasted 100 minutes, while No 8 seed Chun-Yan He of China upset Chakravarthi 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in 105 minutes.
Kawatoko set up a semi-final clash with unseeded Seo-Kyung Kang of Korea, who shunted out unseeded Alisa Ogorodova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-1.
Chun-Yan He set up the other semi-final with top seed Anastasia Malhotra of Japan, who overcame No 5 Yoon-Young Jeong of Korea 6-4, 6-2.
Lakhani, the highest ranked Indian in the tournament at 460 on the WTA list, got off to a dream start when she broke Kawatoko in the opening game of the match and held serve in the next game for a 2-0 lead.
Games went with serve with Kawatoko playing a steady game from the baseline and hoping for Lakhani to make mistakes. The Indian finally succumbed when Kawatoko broke back in the 10th game and held serve for a 6-5 lead.
The Japanese lass grew in confidence and earned another break in the 12th game to snatch the first set, even as Lakhani enjoyed two game points at 40-15 that would have forced the tie-breaker.
Lakhani earned an early break in the third game of the second set for a 2-1 lead that briefly put the pressure back on Kawatoko. But the Indian's unbelievable blemishes in the next game allowed her opponent to break back to draw level at 2-2.
After holding serve for 3-3, Lakhani squandered five break points in an eventful seventh game as Kawatoko, who trailed 0-40, held serve for a 4-3 lead after the third deuce.
Lakhani made amends and kept her hopes alive with a break in the ninth game for a 5-4 lead following a double fault by Kawatoko. But the qualifier struck back with a double break in the 10th and 12th games to seal the tie, after Lakhani trailed 30-40 at match point after hitting wide and ended her hopes with a double fault.
Rushmi Chakravarthi had her chances but her game was littered with errors from the start with her returns either finding the net or going wide to her dismay. Chun-Yan capitalized on those blemishes to seal the first set with breaks in the second and fourth games.
Chakravarthi, who trailed 15-40 in the second game, saved four break points but could not prevent a determined Chun-Yan from going up 2-0 after the fifth.
The Indian had a chance to break back in the fifth game when Chun-Yan was two break points down at 15-40. But the Chinese girl saved both for deuce and held serve for an envious 5-0 lead that put Chakravarthi under immense pressure.
Chakravarthi had another opportunity to break back in the seventh game as Chun-Yan trailed 30-40. But the Chinese smashed a winner for deuce and held serve to take the set.
Chakravarthi made a determined effort to stay in the match in the second set in which games went with serve, until Chun-Yan broke in the seventh and 11th games for a 6-5 advantage. But Chakravarthi did well to break back in the eighth and 12th games to force the set into the tie-breaker.
Only a 6-3 advantage in the tie-breaker proved decisive for Chun-Yan and she sealed the match to end the individual challenge of the Indians in the competition.
Earlier, in the second round that was held over due to rains on Wednesday evening, Anastasia Malhotra beat wild card Rashmi Teltumbde of India 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, Ogorodova shocked No. 3 Keren Sholmo of Israel 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) and Seo-Kyung Kang of Korea upset sixth seed Parul Goswami of India 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Quarter-finals: Chun-Yan He (China) bt Rushmi Chakravarthi (India) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4); Moe Kawatoko (Japan) bt Isha Lakhani (India) 7-5, 7-5; Anastasia Malhotra (Japan) bt Yoon-Young Jeong (Korea) 6-4, 6-2; Seo-Kyung Kang (Korea) bt Alisa Ogorodova (Uzb) 6-3, 6-1.
Second round: Anastasia Malhotra (Japan) bt Rashmi Teltumbde (India) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1; Alisa Ogorodova (Uzb) bt Keren Shlomo (Israel) 7-5, 7-6 (7-3); Seo-Kyung Kang (Korea) bt Parul Goswami (India) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.