The quarter-final matches of the 20th edition of the NECC Deccan $25,000 Women’s ITF Championships were nothing short of climactic. Held on the hard tennis courts of Deccan Gymkhana on Thursday, three seeded players were ousted in adrenaline-packed matches.
In the battle between Japanese compatriots, the unseeded Moyuka Uchijima triumphed comfortably over seasoned player Chihiro Muramatsu, Russian tennis player Ekaterina Reyngold registered the biggest upset of the tournament by ousting top seeded Nefisa Berberovic.
The first quarter final between fifth-seeded Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan and second-seeded Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina was their third run-in the ITF circuit. In a tight three-set match lasting just over two hours, Abduraimova took a lead in the fourth game in the first set to clinch the set 6-1 but lost momentum in the second to go down 2-6. In the final set, Abduraimova took a break-point in the third game with a good lead of 3-0 and won the match with an ace, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, to progress in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, in the all Japanese quarter-final match, Uchijima took a lead after she pocketed two breakpoints in the first and the third game in set one. Keeping her stride coupled with calculated serves, Uchijima (WTA 443) took lead in the seventh and eight game with one break point and two aces, winning the first set 6-2. The match became an one-sided affair by the second set as Uchijima bageled her opponent and won the quarter round with a scoreline of 6-2,6-0.
Evaluating her performance in the tournament, Uchijima said, “I am managing my game very well this tournament. I had not seen the national coaches who travel with the team since the pandemic had begun. But they took notice of the improvement in my game.”
Talking about being in the ITF semi-finals against Abduraimova, Uchijima said, “It is always exciting to be a part of the semi-final. I have seen Nigina’s game but we have not played against each other before so it is going to be a new and interesting match”.