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News

Sriram Balaji, Vishnu Vardhan win another doubles title

NEW DELHI, APRIL 21:

Second seeds Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan beat top seeds Sergey Betov of Belarus and Vladyslav Manafov of Ukraine 6-4, 7-5 in the doubles final of the $25,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in Uzbekistan on Friday.

It was the fifth title for the Indian pair, which had won four of the six titles at home in the recent circuit.

In the professional circuit, it was the 42nd doubles title for Balaji, and 33rd for Vishnu, who have won 12 titles as a pair.

While Balaji has won all his titles in the Futures circuit, Vishnu has two Challenger titles with Karan Rastogi and Divij Sharan.

Meanwhile, Ankita Raina made the doubles final of the $25,000 ITF women’s event in Italy, in partnership with Eva Wacanno of the Netherlands.

In the ITF women’s event in Egypt, Sowjanya Bavisetti bowed out of the singles quarterfinals and the doubles semifinals in partnership with Rishika Sunkara.

The results:
$25,000 ITF men, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Doubles (final): Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Sergey Betov (Blr) & Vladyslav Manafov (Ukr) 6-4, 7-5.

$25,000 ITF women, Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy
Doubles (semifnals): Eva Wacanno (Ned) & Ankita Raina bt Tereza Mrdeza (Cro) & Caitlyn Williams (US) 6-1, 6-3.

$15,000 ITF women, Cairo, Egypt
Singles (quarterfinals): Dominique Karregat (Ned) bt Sowjanya Bavisetti 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles (semifinals): Mariam Bolkvadze (Geo) & Tereza Mihalikova (Svk) bt Sowjanya Bavisetti & Rishika Sunkara 6-3, 7-5.

2017-04-22

Siddhant Banthia and Malikaa Marathe bag the ticket to Paris

NEW DELHI, APRIL 19:

Siddhant Banthia and Malikaa Marathe asserted their supremacy by running away with the boys and girls titles in the Rendezvous Roland Garros Masters junior tennis tournament on the clay courts of the DLTA Complex on Wednesday.

Top seed Siddhant Banthia, easily the best junior in the country with a world rank of 71, outplayed Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy for the loss of one game.

Second seed Malikaa, an eighth standard student from Pune who trains with coach Hemant Bendrey, stopped Yubrani Banerjee in her stride with a 6-1, 6-3 victory, in the girls final.

‘’It is a great opportunity for the champions to play at the French Open. Keep working hard’’, said the former World No.1 singles and doubles star, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who presented the symbolic boarding pass for Paris.

The two champions will compete along with five others each from China, Korea, Japan, Brazil and US. The champion of that event in Paris will get a French Open junior wild card.

The way he has been playing, Siddhant Banthia may not need the wild card to get into the French Open main draw. He had played in the Australian Open and had made the doubles quarterfinals apart from holding a matchpoint in the singles first round.

However, for the 13-year-old Malika, who has not played in the ITF junior circuit yet, it was an unforgettable triumph, as she repeated her performance in Pune where she had clinched the title as a qualifier.

‘’I wanted to perform well here. Am glad that I could win. My opponent in the final was hitting hard, but I adjusted to the pace. I could have played better’’, said Malikaa.

Yubrani Banerjee had played an energy-sapping semifinal, and had survived a matchpoint to get past Radhika Yadav in a three-hour semifinal the previous day. Understandably, she could not run as well as she can, in the final.

It was almost a similar case for Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy who had played two tough matches on Tuesday and did not have adequate energy to challenge a player of the calibre of Siddhant Banthia.

The results:
Boys (final): Siddhant Banthia bt Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy 6-1, 6-0; Third place: Rishabh Sharda bt Dipin Wadhwa 7-5, 6-2.

Girls (final): Malikaa Marathe bt Yubrani Banerjee 6-1, 6-3; Third place: Radhika Yadav bt Prerna Vichare 6-4 (retired).

2017-04-20

Yubrani Banerjee, Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy fight their way to final

NEW DELHI, APRIL 18:

Yubrani Banerjee survived a matchpoint in the second set tie-break to beat Radhika Yadav 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 in the girls semifinals of the Rendezvous Roland Garros junior wild card tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Tuesday.

In a battle of wits that lasted more than three hours, the stocky Yubrani served well and stroked with conviction at the climax to break through the shackles of the wiry Radhika who missed the matchpoint at 7-6 in the tie-break of the second set.

Yubrani, who had led 5-2 in that second set, and later 5-1 in the tie-break, answered all the queries of Radhika, who was light on her feet, for a memorable triumph. At 4-4 in the decider, Yubrani stepped it up, by breaking back for 5-4 and serving out the match thereafter.

After having beaten the top seed in the quarterfinals, and been on matchpoint against Yubrani, it was a bitter climax for Radhika, but she won everyone’s applause for her attacking style of play throughout the gripping contest.

In the final, Yubrani will face second seed Malikaa Marathe who bounced back from a slow start to get past Prerna Vichare 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Malikaa converted her fifth matchpoint on Prerna’s serve to clinch the contest.

In the boys section, Abhinayu Vannem Reddy, a trainee of Davis Cupper Vishaal Uppal, recovered from a slow start to outwit the tall and strong Dipin Wadhwa 7-6(4) in the third set to book a final berth.

The athletic Abhimanyu, who does not give up easily at any stage in the match, had played the quarterfinal earlier in the day against Yugal Bansal. In comparison, Wadhwa had overcome a sluggish start to get past Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the quarterfinals earlier in the morning.

In the other semifinal, played late into the night, as only one of the two clay courts had adequate floodlights, the country’s best jjunior boy, the 71st ranked Siddhant Banthia tamed the top seed Rishabh Sharda 6-3, 6-2.

While the third place matches will be played in the morning, the finals will be played in the afternoon.

The champion boy and girl from the tournament will make it to Paris for the French Open wild card event featuring other champions from China, Korea, Japan, Brazil and the US. The champions in Paris will get the French Open junior wild card.

The results:

Boys (semifinals): Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy bt Dipin Wadhwa 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4); Siddhant Banthia bt Rishabh Sharda 6-3, 6-2.

Quarterfinals: Dipin Wadhwa bt Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3; Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy bt Yugal Bansal 7-6(2), 6-1.

Girls (semifinals): Yubrani Banerjee bt Radhika Yadav 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4; Malikaa Marathe bt Prerna Vichare 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

2017-04-19

Radhika Yadav outplays top seed Vasavi Ganesan

NEW DELHI, APRIL 17:

Radhika Yadav played a fluent game without any signs of nerves to outclass top seed Vasavi Ganesan 6-3, 6-1 in the girls quarterfinals of the Rendezvous Roland Garros Masters junior tennis tournament on the clay courts of the DLTA Complex on Monday.

Serving sharp and stroking with assurance, the wiry Radhika, a trainee of coach Vinod Kumar at the Panchsheel Club, retained her composure throughout to assert her supremacy.

In the semifinals, in the race for the ticket to Paris for the French Open wild card event featuring chamions from other countries, Radhika will play third seed Yubrani Banerjee who recovered from a tentative start when she trailed 2-5 to beat Prathiba Narayan in straight sets.

The champion of one of the two qualifying events in Pune, second seed Malikaa Marathe warmed up for the tougher challenges ahead by sailing past Smriti Singh for the loss of four games. The 13-year-old Malikaa will play Prerna Vichare who put out fourth seed Sravya Shivani in straight sets, after the latter looked to have regained her confident game at 4-2 in the second set.

With the inauguration of the event in the presence of 14-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who cut a cake in the afternoon, only two boys quarterfinals were scheduled for the day.

Top seed Rishabh Sharda of Chandigarh sharpened his game with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Atharva Sharma while Siddhant Banthia, easily the best with a world rank of 71, toyed with the energetic Ashutosh Tiwari.

Second seed Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy and third seed Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli will be playing their matches on the morrow.

The results (quarterfinals):
Boys: Rishabh Sharda bt Atharva Sharma 6-2, 6-3; Siddhant Banthia bt Ashutosh Tiwari 6-0, 6-2.

Girls: Radhika Yadav bt Vasavi Ganesan 6-3, 6-1; Yubrani Banerjee bt Prathiba Narayan 7-5, 6-1; prerna Vichare bt Sravya Shivani 6-4, 7-5; Malikaa Marathe bt Smriti Singh 6-1, 6-3.

2017-04-18

Ramkumar Ramanathan beats Duckhee Lee in $125K Taipei Challenger

NEW DELHI, APRIL 17:

Davis Cupper Ramkumar Ramanathan overcame a sluggish start to beat seventh seed Duckhee Lee of Korea 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the $125,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Chinese Taipei on Monday.

Firing 11 aces and converting three of seven breakpoints, the 22-year-old Ramkumar asserted his strong game.

There was more good news for the Indian camp, as Sasi Kumar Mukund beat Toshihide Matsui 6-3, 6-4 in the third and final qualifying round. He converted two of six breakpoints and did not face any breakpoint in the match.

For his commendable effort, Sasi Kumar was rewarded with a first round against sixth seed Vasek Pospisil of Canada.

Another Davis Cupper, who made such a robust debut with Rohan Bopanna in doubles against the Uzbeks recently in Bengaluru, Sriram Balaji made the pre-quarterfinals of singles with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Miki Jankovic of Serbia in the $25,000 ITF men’s Futures in Uzbekistan.

The results:
$125,000 Challenger men, Chinese Taipei
Singles (first round): Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Duckhee Lee (Kor) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Qualifying singles (third and final round): Sasi Kumar Mukund bt Toshihide Matsui (Jpn) 6-3, 6-4.

$25,000 ITF men, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Singles (first round): Sriram Balaji bt Miki Jankovic (Srb) 6-4, 6-3.

Qualifying singles (second and final round): Shahbaaz Khan bt Anton Djamalov (Uzb) 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Botir Sapaev & Pavel Tsoy (Uzb) bt Alexis Canter (GBR) & Shahbaaz Khan 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-4.

$15,000 ITF men, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Qualifying singles (second round): Romain Bauvy (Fra) bt Megh Bhargav Patel 6-3, 6-2; Jose Daniel Bendeck (Col) bt Sachin Vasantha Kumara 6-0, 6-1.

$15,000 ITF men, Doha, Qatar
Qualifying singles (second round): Omar Alawachi (UAE) bt Aditya Deswal 6-4, 6-0.

$25,000 ITF women, Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy
Qualifying singles (first round): Prarthana Thombare bt Barbora Palcatova (Svk) 7-5, 6-1.

$15,000 ITF women, Cairo, Egypt
Quaifying singles (second round): Shweta Rana bt HanieAouelsaad (Egy) 7-6(2), 6-4.

2017-04-18

Rendezvous Roland Garros: Ticket to Paris for the best

NEW DELHI, APRIL 16:

It will be another opportunity for the bright young Indian tennis players, in the under-18 age group, to compete in the French Open junior event by winning the Rendezvous Roland Garros wild card event to be played on the red clay courts of the DLTA Complex here from April 17 to 19.

Except for Zeel Desai and Mahak Jain who are ranked 23 and 37 among the girls in the ITF junior list, the other Indian players do not have the rank to get into the Grand Slam junior draws.

Siddhant Banthia (78) and Mihika Yadav (81) do stand a chance, depending on the entries in the boys and girls events.

The wild card route may be hard, as the champion of the Indian event will have to compete against the champions from China, Brazil, Korea, Japan and US in Paris. Only the winner of the Paris event will get a wild card for the French Open junior event.

However, for players like Rishabh Sharda (268), Abhimanyu Vanem Reddy (326), Atharva Sharma (601) and Rithivik Choudary Bollipalli (615) it is a chance to find a way through despite their unflattering world rank.

After two tournaments in Kolkata and Pune, the top eight players in terms of points collected from the two events of National series level, have assembled for the Masters to be played on a knock-out format.

It will be interesting to see how well Malikaa Marathe, the country’s No.1 in under-14 girls section, capitalises on the chance after having won the event in Pune as a qualifier.

Malikaa, seeded second, will start against Smriti Singh
Vasavi Ganesan, Yubrani Banerjee and Sravya Shivani will be some of the other leading players.

In the boys event, Rishabh Sharda of Chandigarh will be the top seed while Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy will be the second seed. Siddhant Banthia who had a matchpoint in the first round of singles and played the doubles quarterfinals at the Australian Open will start the favourite.

Rithvik Choudhary Bollipalli will be the other main player in the boys draw.

Siddhant Banthia, seeded fourth, opens against Ashutosh Tiwari.

It may be recalled that Adil Kalyanpur, who now trains at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Spain, and Mahak Jain had won the ticket to Paris last year.

The presence of the Longines brand ambassador, the 14-time Grand Slam champion who had won the French Open women’s title thrice, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, the former world No.1 in both singles and doubles, should be a big inspiration for the aspirants.

2017-04-17

VM Sandeep, Sandeepti emerge champions on the Road to Wimbledon

NEW DELHI, APRIL 15:

VM Sandeep and Sandeepti Singh Rao emerged the champions in the boys and girls sections of the Road to Wimbledon Masters under-14 tennis tournament on the grass courts of the Delhi Gymkhana Club here on Saturday.

Sandeep, a trainee of coach Uday Kumar Reddy at the Triangle Tennis Trust in Chennai, served and stroked with a rare touch of assurance to outwit Denim Yadav 7-6(3), 6-2 in the boys final.

After having finished third in the last edition, it was a welcome progress for Sandeep to make it to Wimbledon in style as the champion.

It was a quality contest and a commendable effort as both the boys held on to their serve to force the tie-break in the first set. Sandeep was easily the better of the two this day, and capitalised on the errors of his opponent to gain a stranglehold over the proceedings.

A dispirited Denim could not fight at his best in the second set, as Sandeep ran up a 4-0 lead, but made a recovery by breaking serve in the fifth and holding serve thereafter. However, Sandeep cruised to the finish without any further trouble.

The girls final was fought better, as Sarah Dev, quite subdued for the most part with her strokes forced the super tie-break. However, at 6-6, the enthusiasm and intensity of strokeplay of the bespectacled Sandeepti, who trains with coach Ankit Patel at the Team Tennis Centre in Siri Fort, provided a magical finish for her.

It did not matter as to who won this day as both the finalists in the boys and girls section had already confirmed their berths in the UK under-14 championship to be played on the grass courts of Wimbledon in August.

In the presence of Tournament Director Paul Hutchins and the British coach Dan Bloxham, the president of the Delhi Gymkhana Club, Lt. Gen. IJ Singh presented the prizes.

The results:

Boys (final): VM Sandeep bt Denim Yadav 7-6(3), 6-2; Third place: Nishant Dabas bt Krishan Hooda 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-8.

Girls (final): Sandeepti Singh Rao bt Sarah Dev 6-4, 3-6, 10-6; Third place: Aditi Narayan w.o. Akanksha Nitture.

2017-04-16

VM Sandeep, Denim Yadav, Sandeepti Singh Rao, Sarah Dev make it to Wimbledon

NEW DELHI, APRIL 14:

VM Sandeep overcame a testing time at the start to outwit Krishan Hooda 6-2, 6-4 in the boys semifinals of the Road to Wimbledon Masters under-14 tennis tournament on the grass courts of Delhi Gymkhana Club on Friday.

The victory fetched him a ticket to Wimbledon, where he will compete in the UK under-14 championship in August.

Sandeep was joined by Denim Yadav among the boys, apart from Sandeepti Singh Rao and Sarah Dev from the girls section.

In a fighting start, Sandeep saved six breakpoints in the first game to hold serve and tightened his grip thereafter by breaking all the service games of Hooda in the first set.

Into the second set, Hooda went up 3-1, but Sandeep handled the tricky service games with considerable maturity and composure, saving the breakpoints before regaining equality. Hooda fought hard at the finish but could not stretch the contest into the third set after saving three matchpoints on his serve in the tenth game, as he missed two game points.

Like Sandeep, Denim had also not dropped a match in the league. A trainee of coach Sajid Lodi in Indore, Denim had a strong all-round game and admirable composure as he cut the escape routes of Nishant Dabas, who had topped his group, and subdued Divesh Gahlot in the quarterfinals. Denim capitalised on early breaks of serve in both the sets to sail past Nishant Dabas 6-3, 6-4.

In the girls section, Sandeepti Singh Rao and Sarah Dev prevailed on expected lines, even though their opponents Akanksha NItture and Aditi Narayan were expected to put up a better fare.

The bespectacled Sandeepti, who trains with coach Ankit Patel, had outplayed Akanksha in the league for the loss of two games, and conceded three in the semifinal. Sarah, a trainee of Harvest Academy in Jassowal, also finished her match within an hour, dropping two games to Aditi.

Even though the main purpose of qualifying for Wimbledon has been achieved, it will be interesting to see who handles the climax better on the morrow.

The results (semifinals):

Boys: VM Sandeep bt Krishan Hooda 6-2, 6-4; Denim Yadav bt Nishant Dabas 6-3, 6-4.

Girls: Sandeepti Singh Rao bt Akanksha Nitture 6-2, 6-1; Sarah Dev bt Aditi Narayan 6-1, 6-1.

2017-04-15

India to play Canada in Davis Cup World Group play-off

NEW DELHI, APRIL 11:

India drew eighth seed Canada in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie to be played in Canada, from September 15 to 17.

Since the two teams had not met before in Davis Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which made the draw in London on Tuesday, had to decide the host.

It was a minor relief for India, as it would be playing a relatively less powerful tennis nation, after having fought the giants like Serbia, Czech Republic and Spain over the last three years in the play-off stage.

Of course, Canada has world No.6, the big-serving Milos Raonic, who has a 16-6 win-loss record in Davis Cup, but has not been playing Davis Cup after he lost to Kei Nishikori in five sets in 2015. His team had won the tie 3-2 then.

Argentina, Croatia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan and Russia were the other seeded teams in the play-off draw this time.

‘’We will fight hard’’, said captain Mahesh Bhupathi, who had guided the team past Uzbekistan 4-1 in the recent Asia-Oceania second round tie in Bengaluru.

Vasek Pospisil is the second best player in Canada. The 26-year-old, standing at 6’ 4’’ may be ranked 119 now, but was No.25 in the world in 2014. He has a current doubles rank of 29, and a best of No.4 in 2015. He had won the men’s doubles title in Wimbledon in 2014 with Jack Sock of the US.

Along with the evergreen, 44-year-old Daniel Nestor (22) and Adil Shamasdin (65), Canada has three doubles players in the top-100 of world rankings.

Peter Polansky (127), Denis Shapalov (172) and Steven Diez (179) are the other leading Canadian singles players, ranked in the top-200.

Canada had lost to Britain in the first round of the World Group this season. It had played Serbia in the semifinals in 2013. It has been consistently in the World Group since 2012.

With five months to go for the tie, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni who missed out on the recent ties in the Asia-Oceania zone owing to injuries, may be ready to bolster the Indian team.

Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Rohan Bopanna and Sriram Balaji had powered India past Uzbekistan, when one of the most successful players in Davis Cup history, Leander Paes had to sit out.

2017-04-12

Malikaa Marathe takes the small, big steps as a qualifier on the Road to French Open

Qualifier Malikaa Marathe marched ahead to clinch the title ahead of top seed Sravya Shivani 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the recent Rendezvous Roland Garros National series under-18 tennis tournament in Pune.

Except for dropping a set to Vasavi Ganesan in the semifinals, the 13-year-old Malikaa did not drop a set in winning six matches in a draw of 64. She dropped two games in the qualifying event, in which she won a round after a bye.

After having qualified for the Road to Wimbledon Masters, it was another opportunity for Malikaa to make it to a Grand Slam nation. She will compete in the Masters, featuring eight players, in the Rendezvous Roland Garros event in Delhi.

The champion boy and girl of the Masters will make it to Paris to compete in a junior wild card event featuring players from other countries like China and Brazil.

Malikaa had also got selected for the Asia-Oceania World Junior under-14 team, but could not make it to Thailand.

The results:
Boys (final): Siddhant Banthia bt Rishabh Sharda 6-2, 6-1; Semiifnals: Siddhant Banthia bt Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy 6-2, 6-3; Rishabh Sharda bt Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli 6-3, 6-2.
Girls (final): Malikaa Marathe bt Sravya Shivani 6-4, 6-3; Semiifnals: Sravya Shivani bt Aesha Patel 6-2, 7-6(4); Malikaa Marathe bt Vasavi Ganesan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

2017-04-05

Leander Paes wins Challenger, Yuki Bhambri out of Davis Cup

NEW DELHI, APRIL 2:

Leander Paes announced his readiness for the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan, by winning the doubles title in the $75,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Mexico on Saturday.

Third seeds, Paes and Adil Shamasdin of Canada outplayed Luca Margaroli of Switzerland and Calo Zamperi of Brazil 6-1, 6-4 in the final.

The title was worth 90 ATP points and $4650. The runners-up collected 55 ATP points and $2700.

It was the first Challenger title of the season for the 43-year-old Paes, who had won two of them last year.

Even though both Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes had been kept as reserves for the tie against Uzbekistan starting in Benglauru on April 7, captain Mahesh Bhupathi conceded that one of them would play.

It had nothing to do with Paes winning the Challenger or Bopanna having the best doubles rank among the Indians, but owing to Yuki Bhambri pulling out with a ‘’knee inflammation’’.

It was not a welcome situation, as the 24-year-old Yuki was easily the best player on view, having been exceptionally consistent in the Challenger circuit in China, when he made two semifinals apart from a quarterfinal.

‘’It is a strain and will keep me out for two to three weeks. Been playing with it in China. Didn’t want to risk anymore since it is too early in the season’’, reasoned Yuki, when contacted.

Obviously, Yuki did not want to undergo the medical fitness test scheduled to be taken in Mumbai prior to the players assembling for the tie in Bengaluru, and conceded that he would not have been able to pass it.

Last season, before he missed more than six months owing to a painful ‘’tennis elbow’’, Yuki had won the Delhi Open Challenger doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi.

So, the responsibility on Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sriram Balaji will increase, even though it may simplify matters related to team composition to a great extent.

Meanwhile, Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova were beaten 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Miami Open by Gabriela Dabrowki and Xu Yifan. The women's doubles was the climax of the tournament, after Roger Federer had beaten Rafael Nadal in one of the biggest events after the four Grand Slams.

The unseeded Canada-China pair, which converted three of 10 breakpoints in the match, collected 1000 WTA points and $285,170. Sania and partner, who managed to convert one of nine breakpoints in the final, had to settle for 650 WTA points and $187,970.

The results:
$6,993,450 Miami Open, WTA, US
Doubles (final): Gabriela Dabrowski (Can) & Xu Yifan (Chn) bt Barbora Strycova & Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-3.

$75,000 Challenger men, Leon, Mexico
Doubles (final): Adil Shamasdin (Can) & Leander Paes bt Luca Margaroli (Sui) & Caio Zamperi (Bra) 6-1, 6-4.

$25,000 ITF women, Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy
Doubles (final): Lina Gjorcheska (Mkd) & Bernarda Pera (US) bt Eva Wacanno (Ned) & Prarthana Thombare 6-2, 6-3.

2017-04-03

Leander Paes in Challenger semifinals in Mexico

NEW DELHI, MARCH 31:

Leander Paes in partnership with Adil Shamasdin of Canada sailed into the doubles semifinals, with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Stefan Kozilov of the US and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands in the $75,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Mexico on Thursday.

In the semifinals, the third seeded Paes and partner were scheduled to play the Aussies Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith, who had put out the top seeds Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in the first round.

Prarthana Thombare in partnership with Eva Wacanno of the Nethelrands made the doubles final of the $25,000 ITF women’s event in Italy.

Natasha Palha lost the singls quarterfinals and the doubles semifinals in the ITF women’s event in Egypt.

The results:
$75,000 Challenger men, Leon, Mexico
Doubles (quarterfinals): Adil Shamasdin (can) & Leander Paes bt Stefan Kozlov (US) & Igor Sijsling (Ned) 6-4, 6-2.

$15,000 ITF men, Jakarta, Indonesia
Singles (quarterfinals): Yu Hsiang Chiu (Tpe) bt Karunuday Singh 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Doubles (semifinals): Pirmin Haenle (Ger) & Karunuday Singh bt Jake Delaney & Max Purcell (Aus) 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

$25,000 ITF women, Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy
Doubles (semifinals): Eva Wacanno (Ned) & Prarthana Thombare bt Irina Maria Bara (Rou) & Basak Eraydin (Tur) 6-3, 6-1.

$15,000 ITF women, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Singles (quarterfinals): Anastasia Vdovenco (Mda) bt Natasha Palha 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles (semifinals): Laura-Ioana Andrei (Rou) & Melanie Klaffner (Aut) bt Lavinia Tananta (Ina) & Natasha Palha 6-4, 6-4; Quarterfinals: Lavinia Tananta & Natasha Palha bt Ola Abou Zekry (Egy) & Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-7.

$15,000 ITF women, Heraklion, Greece
Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Camila Giangreco Campiz (Par) bt Karman Kaur Thandi 6-2, 6-2.

2017-03-31

Indian girls beat Malaysia, get ready for Sri Lanka in WJT

NEW DELHI, MARCH 30:

Sandeepti Singh Rao and Sarah Dev played well to help India outplay Malaysia 2-0 in a play-off match for the minor placings in the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 girls tennis championship in Bangkok on Thursday.

India will next play Sri Lanka in the race for the ninth place.
Korea, China, Thailand and Australia made the semifinals.

The results (play-off): India bt Malaysia 2-0 (Sandeepti Singh Rao bt Zan Ning Lim 6-1, 6-0; Sarah Dev bt Sharifah Wan Abdul Rahman 6-1, 6-3).

2017-03-31

Sania Mirza and Strycova in semifinals in Miami

NEW DELHI, MARCH 28:

Third seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova breezed into the doubles semifinals of the $6,993,450 Miami Open with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Vania King of the US and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.

The Indo-Czech pair may face Swiss Miss, Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei in the semifinals. Or they may meet Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and María José Martínez Sánchez of Spain, who knocked out World No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.

Elsewhere, Karman Kaur Thandi warmed up for the tougher challenges ahead with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 victory over Julyette Maria Josephine Steur of Germany, in the $15,000 ITF women's event in Greece.

Rishika Sunkara qualified in singles for the event in Egypt and made the doubles quarterfinals with Ana Veselinovic of Montenegro.

The results:

$6,993,450 Miami Open, WTA, US 
Doubles (quarterfinals): Barbora Strycova (Cze) & Sania Mirza bt Vania King (US) & Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) 6-4, 6-1.

2017-03-29

Indian boys place fifth in World juniors tennis

NEW DELHI, MARCH 25:

Nishant Dabas won both his singles and doubles to outwit Korea 2-1 for the fifth place in the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 tennis tournament in Bangkok on Saturday.

It was a narrow miss for the Indian team, as the top four teams China, Japan, Australia and Thailand qualified for the World Group final to be staged in Prostejov, Czech Republic in August.

India had lost to Australia in the quarterfinals, after finishing
second in the group following a 1-2 loss to Korea in the last league match.

The results (final): China bt Japan 2-0 (Zheng Boren bt Kokoro Isomura 7-6(5), 6-1; Wang Xiao Fei bt Shintaro Mochizuki 6-3, 6-3).

Third place: Australia bt Thailand 3-0 (Casey Hoole bt Guantinun Sootinun-Opart 6-3, 7-5; Philip Sekulic bt Tanapatt Nirundorn 6-4, 6-1; Casey Hoole & Edward Vo bt Tanapatt Nirundorn & Shisanuphong Pokinsagethasiri 1-6, 6-3, 10-5).

Fifth place: India bt Korea 2-1 (NIshant Dabas bt Song Woodan 4-6, 6-4, 7-5; Divesh Gahlot lost to Jeon Jewon 6-7(7), 3-6; Nishant Dabas & VM Sandeep bt Song Woodan & Yoon Hyeondeok 6-1, 3-6, 10-8)).

The final placings: 1. China, 2. Japan, 3. Australia, 4. Thailand, 5. India, 6. Korea, 7. Chinese Taipei, 8. Syria, 9. New Zealand, 10. Hong Kong, 11. Indonesia, 12. Lebanon, 13. Uzbekistan, 14. Kazakhstan, 15. Sri Lanka, 16. Philippines.

2017-03-27

Indian girls place 11th in Junior Fed Cup

NEW DELHI, MARCH 25:

The Indian girls took the 11th place as they beat Malaysia 2-0 in the Asia Oceania Junior Fed Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Saturday.

Sai Dedeepya, playing the first singles blanked Juliana Shalini Ganendra, but Humera Shaik had to fight it out after a slow start to win in the third set tie-break.

In the final, Japan outplayed Thailand 2-0, dropping 11 games in all. Chinese Taipei took the third berth for the World Group Finals to be played in Budapest, Hungary, in September, by outwitting Australia 2-1.

The results (final): Japan bt Thailand 2-0 (Nato Sato bt Napatt Nirundorn 6-4, 6-0; Yuki Naito bt Thasaporn Naklo 6-3, 6-4).

Third place: Chinese Taipei bt Australia 2-1 (Joanna Jessie Garland bt Amber Marshall 7-6(5), 6-0; Kuan Yi Lee lost to Olivia Gadecki 6-0, 2-6, 2-6; Joanna Jessie Garland & Kuan Yi Lee bt Olivia Gadecki & Tayla Whitehouse 4-6, 6-1, 10-2).

Play-off 11th place: India bt Malaysia 2-0 (Sai Dedeepya bt Juliana Shalini Ganendra 6-0, 6-0; Sharifah Elsa Wan Abdul Rahman bt Humera Shaik 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3)).

The final placings: 1. Japan, 2. Thailand, 3. Chinese Taipei, 4. Australia, 5. Hong Kong, 6. China, 7. New Zealand, 8. Uzbekistan, 9. Korea, 10. Indoensia, 11. India, 12. Malaysia, 13. Pacific Oceania, 14. Kazakhstan, 15. Kyrgyzstan, 16. Sri Lanka.

2017-03-27

Karman Kaur Thandi wins doubles in Greece

Karman Kaur Thandi in partnership with Mira Antonitsch of Austria outplayed the top seeds Ola Ianchuk of Ukraine and Despina Paramichail of Greece 6-0, 6-3 in the doubles final of the $15,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament in Heraklion, Greece, on Saturday.

It was a remarkable journey for the unseeded pair which had negotiated a tricky quarterfinal, surviving three matchpoints, from being down 3-6, 2-5 against second seeds Charlotte Robillard-Millette and Carol Zhao of Canada.

It compensated for the disappointment for the 18-year-old Karman, seeded seventh in singels, after she lost the first round in straight sets.

It was the third doubles title in the professional circuit for Karman following the two she had won with Dhruthi Venugopal at home in 2015.

It was the second doubles title for the 18-year-old Mira Antonitsch who had won her maiden title in 2015.

2017-03-26

Prajnesh Gunneswaran triumphs yet again

Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat second seed Sriram Balaji 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

It was the second title in the current series for the 27-year-old Prajnesh from three finals. The Chennai left-hander, Prajnesh converted five of six breakpoints to assert his mastery over Balaji, whom he had beaten six times in nine meetings. Interestingly, the last four meetings have been in finals, and Prajnesh has won three of them. The 325th Prajnesh has six singles titles in all since 2013.

The loss apart, it was a satisfactory series of six successive tournaments for the 27-year-old Balaji who made five finals, winning two titles. He also won four doubles titles with Vishnu Vardhan in five finals. He has won 41 doubles titles in the professional circuit. Thus, he may have strengthened his chances of making the four-member Davis Cup team for the tie against Uzbekistan to be staged in Bengaluru from April 7 to 9.

In fact, Prajnesh has also been quite consistent by making the finals in all the three events that he competed after having tried his luck in the qualifying event of the Dubai ATP event.

The selectors may have a hard time finalising the four, to be announced ten days before the tie, even though the final four could still be revised just before the draw on April 6.

2017-03-25

Salsa Aher drives India past Pacific Oceania

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22:

Stylish left-hander Salsa Aher bounced back from a twisted ankle to guide India past Pacific Oceania in the last league match of the Asia Oceania Junior Fed Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Wednesday.

Even though the 2-1 victory did not help the team’s cause much, in terms of making it to the knock-out stage as India had lost to Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan, it was a morale booster for the team.

Salsa won the first singles by dropping two games in all. Humera Shaik who had won her singles matches on the first two days was subdued by Carol Young Suh Lee. However, Salsa and Humera combined very well to outclass the Pacific Oceania pair for the loss of four games.

Incidentally, India had lost the decisive doubles against both Taipei and Uzbekistan.

In the fight for the ninth place, India will first face Kazakhstan on Thursday.

All the seeded teams except Korea made it to the quarterfinals. Japan, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Australia and Thailand were joined by the unseeded China, which otherwise is a strong team in the region.

Only the top three teams from the tournament will make it to the World Group Finals to be staged in Budapest, Hungary, in September.

The results (league): India bt Pacific Oceania 2-1 (Salsa Aher bt Naia Guitton 6-1, 6-1; Humera Shaik lost to Carol Young Suh Lee 1-6, 2-6; Salsa Aher & Humera Shaik bt Naia Guitton & Carol Young Suh Lee 6-4, 6-0).

2017-03-23

Indian boys take on Australia in WJT

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22:

The Indian boys lost to Korea 1-2, but they had already ensured their entry into the quarterfinals of the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 tennis tournament in Bangkok, on Wednesday.

Divesh Gahlot gave a fighting start for india by winning the first rubber against Woodan Song in two hours and 47 minutes. But, VM Sandeep could not reproduce such a performance in the second singles or later in doubles in partnership with Nishant Dabas.

In the quarterfinals, India will play Australia. The other quarterfinals will feature China vs Syria, Thailand vs Korea and ChineseTaipei vs Japan.

The results (league): Korea bt India 2-1 (Woodan Song lost to Divesh Gahlot 5-7, 7-5, 4-6; Jewon Jeon bt VM Sandeep 6-1, 6-1; Jewon Jeon & Hyeondeok Yoon bt Nishant Dabas & VM Sandeep 6-2, 6-4).

2017-03-23

Yuki Bhambri in Challenger pre-quarterfinals

NEW DELHI, MARCH 21:

Yuki Bhambri beat Tatsuma Ito of Japan 7-6(2), 6-2 in the first round of the $50,000 Challenger tennis tournament in China on Tuesday.

In the pre-quarterfinals, the 24-year-old Yuki will play fourth seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia.

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan joined hands with Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia to beat the Chinese wild cards Di Wu and Zhizhen Zhang in two tie-break sets.

Davis Cupper Ramkumar Ramanathan lost in the third and final qualifying round of a similar Challenger in Mexico, in three tough sets to Alex De Minaur of Australia.

In the ITF men’s Futures in Bahrain, Shahbaaz Khan capitalised on his lucky loser entry to make the pre-quarterfinals by outplaying a local wild card entrant for the loss of one game.

In the $15,000 ITF women’s event in Greece, seventh seed Karman Kaur Thandi was beaten 6-4, 7-5 by qualifier Michaela Boev of Belgium.

The results:

$50,000 Challenger men, Quanzhou, China
Singles (first round): Yuki Bhambri bt Tatsuma Ito (Jpn) 7-6(2), 6-2.
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Christopher Rungkat (Ina) & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Di Wu & Zhizhen Zhang (Chn) 7-6(5), 7-6(5).

$50,000 Challenger men, Guadalajara, Mexico
Qualifying singles (third and final round): Alex De Minaur (Aus) bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-4.

$15,000 ITF men, Heraklion, Greece
Singles (first round): Alex Molcan (Svk) bt Sathi Reddy Chirala 6-1, 6-0.

$15,000 ITF men, Manama, Bahrain
Singles (first round): Shahbaaz Khan bt Abdul Rahman Janahi (Brn) 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Anderson Reed & Matt Seeberger (US) bt Isa Mammetgulyyev (Tkm) & Shahbaaz Khan 6-2, 4-6, 10-5.

$15,000 ITF women, Heraklion, Greece
Singles (first round): Michaela Boev (Bel) bt Karman Kaur Thandi 6-4, 7-5.
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Olga Ianchuk (Ukr) & Despina Papamichail (Gre) bt Laura Pous Tio (Esp) & Tanisha Rohira 6-2, 6-2.

$15,000 ITF women, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Emilie Francati (Den) & Nina Kruijer (Ned) bt Natasha Palha & Rishika Sunkara 7-5, 6-4; Qianxin Kong (Chn) & Ramya Natarajan bt Jawairiah Noordin & Theiviya Selvarajoo (Mas) 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.

2017-03-22

Indian boys reach quarterfinals in World Junior Tennis

NEW DELHI, MARCH 21:

The Indian boys beat Uzbekistan 3-0 to ensure a quarterfinal berth in the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 tennis tournament in Bangkok on Tuesday.

It was the second victory for India after the one over Kazakhstan. India will play Korea on Wednesday to decide the group topper. Incidentally, both India and Korea have not dropped a set in two matches each.

The results (league): India bt Uzbekistan 3-0 (Nishant Dabas bt Abdurakhmov Saidmukhamedov 7-5, 6-2; VM Sandeep bt Samandar Abdumalikov 6-4, 7-5; Nishant Dabas & Divesh Gahlot bt Samandar Abdumalikov & Fayzullo Mirzaganiev 6-4, 6-2).

2017-03-22

Indian boys open with a win in World Junior tennis

NEW DELHI, MARCH 20:

The Indian boys opened their challenge in a strong fashion by beating Kazakhstan 3-0 in a group-C league match of the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 tennis tournament in Bangkok on Monday.

Divesh Gahlot and VM Sandeep dropped only two games each in winning the singles matches, and the doubles was a little more competitive when Nishant Dabas partnered Sandeep.

India will play Uzbekistan on Tuesday and Korea on Wednesday, in its attempt to make the knock-out phase.

The results (league): India bt Kazakhstan 3-0 (Divesh Gahlot bt Nikita Sidorov 6-0, 6-2; VM Sandeep bt Timur Chsherbokov 6-2, 6-0; Nishant Dabas & VM Sandeep bt Nikita Sidorov & Daniyal Taskali 6-4, 7-5).

The groupings:
Pool-A: Chinese Taipei, China, Hong Kong, Lebanon.
Pool-B: New Zealand, Japan, Syria, Philippines.
Pool-C: India, Korea, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan.
Pool-D: Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka.

2017-03-21

Indian girls seek to qualify in Junior Fed Cup tennis

NEW DELHI, MARCH 19:

A brand new Indian team with a new captain will attempt to fight its way towards qualification in the Asia Oceania Junior Fed Cup under-16 girls tennis tournament, starting at the DLTA Complex on Monday.

With Mahak Jain and Shivani Amineni, who had helped the Indian team qualify for the World Group last year, not available this time owing to various reasons, it will be a good chance for players like Salsa Aher and Sai Dedeepya to assert their ability.

In fact, Humera Shaikh, the tall girl from Hyderabad with considerable potential, and Salsa Aher the national sub-junior champion, had opted to skip their tenth standard exams to be part of the national squad.

Captain Arati Natekar, who had represented the country in Fed Cup in the company of Nirupama Sanjeev and Rushmi Chakravarthi, said that she was looking forward to the girls playing their best, without feeling the pressure.

‘’We had good two sessions today. We are playing Chinese Taipei in the first match tomorrow. It is a good team. Since our girls are representing the country for the first time at this level, we will get to know them through the matches’’, observed Arati, quite happy to be back in the tennis circle.

Arati had quit in 1996, as there was not much scope for women tennis players to have a professional career, and had later married Davis Cupper Gaurav Natekar. The recent Davis Cup in Pune, and a stand being named after Gaurav Natekar, had brought Arati back into the tennis fold.

Eighth seed Uzbekistan and Pacific Oceania will be the other teams in group-D along with India and the third seed Chinese Taipei.

Since New Zealand had finished 16th in the last edition in the World Group Finals, incidentally beaten by India, only three teams will qualify for the World Group this time, instead of four.

That makes it so much difficult for the girls from 16 countries.

Arati hoped that the host would at least be able to qualify for the knock-out featuring eight teams, two each from the four groups, and take it forward from there.

The Indian boys had disappointed by finishing tenth last week in the Junior Davis Cup, and it is time for the girls to fare better.

The groupings:
Pool-A: Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Korea.
Pool-B: Thailand, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand.
Pool-C: Australia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong.
Pool-D: Chinese Taipei, Pacific Oceania, India, Uzbekistan.

2017-03-20

India tenth, Japan champion in Junior Davis Cup

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18:

The Indian boys were beaten 2-0 by New Zealand for the ninth place in the Asia Oceania Junior Davis Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Saturday.

India had beaten New Zealand for its only victory in the league phase. However, Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli who came in for Sashank Theertha lost the opening rubber. Equallly, Sacchitt Sharma who had recovered from a precarious position in the league match against George Duncan Stoupe lost rather tamely this time after winning the first set in the tie-break.

India had lost to Hong Kong and Japan in the league, and had beaten Indonesia and Malaysia in the play-off for minor placings.

Japan prevailed by the strength of its strong doubles combination as it beat Australia 2-1 for the title. The top four teams from the 16 countries which competed here, Japan, Australia, ChineseTaipei and China made it to the World Group Finals to be played in Budapest, Hungary, in September.

The results (final): Japan bt Australia 2-1 (Keisuke Saitoh bt Stefan Storch 6-1, 6-3; Fumiya Hoshino lost to Rinky Hijakata 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Tomoya Ikeda & Fumiya Yoshino bt Ken Cavrak & Stefan Storch 6-4, 6-4).

Ninth place: New Zealand bt India 2-0 (Chris Wei Sheng Zhang bt Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli 6-4, 6-4; George Duncan Stoupe bt Sacchitt Sharma 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0).

The final standings: 1. Japan, 2. Australia, 3. Chinese Taipei, 4. China, 5. Korea, 6. Hong Kong, 7. Thailand, 8. Uzbekistan, 9. New Zealand, 10. India, 11. Indonesia, 12. Singapore, 13. Philippines, 14. Kazakhstan, 15. Malaysia, 16. Syria.

2017-03-19

Sriram Balaji beats Prajnesh Gunneswaran for title

Second seed Sriram Balaji beat top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Prajnesh had won the title last week beating Ballaji, while the latter had won the one in Jorhat earlier and lost to Yuki in the final in Chandigarh.

It was the ninth career singles title in the professional circuit for Balaji, who was winning his first match in the last six meetings against Prajnesh. He has improved to a 3-5 win-loss record against Prajnesh in the international circuit.

Earlier, after three successive doubles titles with Vishnu Vardhan, Balaji and partner were beaten by the Sood twins, Chandril and Lakshit, in the final.

The results:

Singles (final): Sriram Balaji bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Semifinals: Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6-4, 6-4; Sriram Balaji bt Karunuday Singh 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Doubles (final): Chandril Sood & Lakshit Sood bt Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan 2-6, 6-4, 10-6.

2017-03-19

India beats Malaysia in the race for ninth place

NEW DELHI, MARCH 16:

The Indian boys beat Malaysia 3-0 in the positional match for lower places in the Asia Oceania Junior Davis Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.

In the next match, in the ongoing race for the ninth spot from among 16 teams, India will play Indonesia.

Chinese Taipei, Japan, Australia and China won their quarterfinals and qualified for the World Group Finals to be played in Budapest, Hungary, in September.

In the semifinals, Chinese Taipei will play Japan while Australia will face China.

The results:

Quarterfinals: Chinese Taiipei bt Thailand 2-0 (Chang Lin Tsai bt Thantub Suksumran 6-3, 6-4; Chun Hsin Tseng bt Natthayut Nithithananont 6-1, 6-1).
Japan bt Korea 2-0 (Keisuke Saitoh bt Kim Dongju 5-7, 6-1, 7-5; Tomoya Ikeda bt Kim Geunjun 6-4, 6-4).
China bt Hong Kong 2-0 (Zhou Xinmu bt Wai Yu Kaii 6-4, 6-1; Buyun Chaokete bt Ki Lung Roger Ng 6-1, 6-1).
Australia bt Uzbekistan 2-0 (Stefan Storch bt Azamat Lukmanov 6-2, 6-2; Rinky Hijakata bt Sergey Fomin 7-6(3), 6-4).

Play-off: India bt Malaysia 3-0 (Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli bt Takeshi Koay Jian Kong 7-6(2), 6-1; Sacchitt Sharma bt Naufal Siddiq Kamarazzaman 6-2, 6-0; Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli & Sashank Theertha bt Takeshi Koay Jian Kong & Daarshan Suresh 4-6, 6-1, 10-5).

2017-03-17

Sacchitt Sharma wins a thriller; India beats New Zealand

NEW DELHI, MARCH 14:

Sashank Theertha and Sacchitt Sharma found their best game in time to get India past New Zealand with a 2-1 victory in the league phase of the Asia-Oceania Junior Davis Cup under-16 boys tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Tuesday.

Sacchitt Sharma, who had won the UK under-14 tennis championship on the grass courts of Wimbledon in 2015, continued to assert his all-round game as he won his singles match for the second time in two days.

It was a crucial victory as India continued to lose its grip in the doubles. Hong Kong had beaten India by winning the decisive doubles and that has put a big question mark over India qualifying for the knock-out phase.

Japan won its second match on the trot and will be ready for India in the last league match on Wednesday.

In such a scenario, Hong Kong, coached by the former Indian Davis Cupper Karan Rastogi, may fancy its chances better to qualify along with Japan from the group.

Sacchitt Sharma may be able to turn the tide, if he plays the way he did against the Kiwi No.1 George Duncan Stoupe from a precarious position of 4-6, 1-4.

After being hesitant with his strokes, Sacchitt attacked without a hitch to expose the limitations of the New Zealander. It was a courageous fare, as the Kiwi was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. In the decider, Sacchitt ran up a 5-1 lead before going through some anxious moments.

Earlier, the big-serving Sashank Theertha with a fierce forehand, was tentative at the start before stepping it up to play a robust game against Chris Wei Sheng Zhang.

The results (league): India bt New Zealand 2-1 (Sashank Theertha bt Chris Wei Sheng Zhang 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Sacchitt Sharma bt George Duncan Stoupe 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3; Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli & Sacchitt Sharma lost to George Duncan Stoupe & Chris Wei Sheng Zhang 3-6, 6-3, 7-10).

2017-03-15

Prajnesh Gunneswaran triumphs

BHILAI, MARCH 11:

Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat second seed Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour in the final of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the BSP Tennis complex on Saturday.

It was the fifth singles title in the professional circuit for the
27-year-old Prajnesh, ranked 342, and his fifth victory on the trot over Balaji in the professional circuit. Balaji had won the first round of Chennai Challenger in 2014 for the second of his two wins over Prajnesh in seven meetings.

The 26-year-old Balaji recovered from a slow start to lead 4-3, but Prajnesh won the next three games to take the first set. In the second, Prajnesh conceded two points in all while winning the first four games which firmly pulled the contest in his favour.

The loss in the final apart, it has been a good run for Balaji, who had finished runner-up to Yuki Bhambri in the first tournament of the current series at home. He won the next, beating Vishnu Vardhan in Jorhat. After losing second round in the third event in Guwahati, he did well to reach the final. Along the way, Balaji also won three doubles titles on the trot with Vishnu.

On the other hand, Prajnesh had rested and trained after the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune before joining the circuit in the fourth tournament.

The players have two more events at home over the next fortnight in Bengaluru and Thiruvananthanpuram.

2017-03-12

Yuki Bhambri cruises past Blaz Kavcic in Zhuhai Challenger

NEW DELHI, MARCH 9:

Yuki Bhambri continued to impress as he dismissed fifth seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia with a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the pre-quarterfinals of the $50,000 Challenger tennis tournament in China on Thursday.

Yuki converted five of seven breakpoints and dropped serve once in the match on facing two breakpoints, against the 147th ranked Slovenian, who has won 14 Challenger singles titles and was ranked a career-best 68 in 2012.

The 24-year-old Yuki, who has dropped only seven games in all in two rounds so far, will play Agustin Velotti of Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, in the $15,000 women’s event in Egypt, Sai Samhitha saved four matchpoints to beat seventh seed Yana Sizikova of Russia 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.

It was a remarkable fight back by Sai, who had finished runner-up in the national championship to Prerna Bhambri in 2015, as she trailed 4-6, 3-5 at one stage and saved four matchpoints over the next two games. She missed two setpoints in the 12th game but served two of her four aces in the match in the tie-break to get even.

In the decider, Sai ran up a 5-3 lead but missed a matchpoint in the ninth game, and later four more matchpoints in the 12th game, before she served out the match that lasted nearly three hours.

In a tough match in which Sai converted three of eight breakpoints and saved six of nine breakpoints, she won 119 points to 123 by her opponent. Sai won the decisive points in the second set tie-break that turned the match around.
It was a revenge victory for Sai, as the Russian had beaten her in Egypt in 2014.

In the ITF grade-1 junior event in Thailand, second seed Zeel Desai was beaten 6-2, 6-3 by the 15-year-old fifth seed Xin Yu Wang of China in the girls quarterfinals.

The results:
$50,000 Challenger men, Zhuhai, China
Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Yuki Bhambri bt Blaz Kavcic (Slo) 6-1, 6-4.

$15,000 ITF women, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Sai Samhitha bt Yana Sizikova (Rus) 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.

Doubels (pre-quarterfinas): Ola Abou Zekry (Egy) & Anette Munozova (Swe) bt Dan Ni Wang (Chn) & Sai Samhitha 6-3, 6-3.

ITF grade-1 juniors, Nonthaburi, Thailand
Girls (quarterfinals): Xin Yu Wang (Chn) bt Zeel Desai 6-2, 6-3.

2017-03-09

Zeel Desai sustains progress in ITF junior event

NEW DELHI, MARCH 8:

Second seed Zeel Desai emerged the only Indian to make the quarterfinals of the ITF grade-1 junior tennis tournament in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Zeel who had won an ITF women’s tournament last week in Gwalior, beat Fiona Ganz of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4 in the pre-quarterfinals.

Mahak Jain who had made the ITF women’s final against Zeel, was beaten in the pre-quarterfinals in three sets by another Swiss girl Simona Waltert, while Akanksha Bhan was outplayed by Naho Sato of Japan after she had beaten the seventh seed Yang Lee of Chinese Taipei in the earlier round.

In the boys section, Siddhant Banthia and Parikshit Somani were beaten early.

The results:

Boys (second round): Kody Pearson (Aus) bt Siddhant Banthia 7-5, 6-0; First round: Kai Kawano (Jpn) bt Parikshit Somani 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles (second round): John Bryan Decasa Otico (Phi) & Seita Watanabe (Jpn) bt Yeongseok Jeong (Kor) & Siddhant Banthia 7-6(1), 6-1; First round: Taisei Ichikawa & James Kent Trotter (Jpn) bt Hua-Chen Yu (Tpe) & Parikshit Somani 3-6, 6-1, 10-7.

Girls (pre-quarterfinals): Simona Waltert (Sui) bt Mahak Jain 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Naho Sato (Jpn) bt Akanksha Bhan 6-1, 6-0; Zeel Desai bt Fiona Ganz (Sui) 6-3, 6-4.

Second round: Mahak Jain bt Rina Saigo (Jpn) 6-1, 6-7(11),
6-1; Akanksha Bhan bt Yang Lee (Tpe) 7-6(1), 2-6, 6-3; Zeel Desai bt Sakura Hosogi (Jpn) 0-6, 6-1, 6-3.

First round: Akanksha Bhan bt Lunda Kumhom (Tha) 7-6(1), 2-6, 6-3.

Doubles (second round): Olivia Gadecki (Aus) & Himari Sato (Jpn) bt Simona Waltert (Sui) & Zeel Desai 7-5, 2-6, 11-9; First round:
Adrienn Nagy(Hun) & Lexie Stevens (Ned) bt Mai Napart Nirundorn (Tha) & Akanksha Bhan 6-3, 7-5; Thasaporn Naklo (Tha) & Sohyun Park (Kor) bt Lisa Mays (Aus) & Mahak Jain 6-3, 6-2.

2017-03-08

Prajnesh outplays Mohit Mayur in ITF Futures

BHILAI, MARCH 8:

Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran continued with his fluent run and outplayed former national champion Mohit Mayur 6-2, 6-3 in the pre-quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the BSP Tennis Complex on Wednesday.

In the quarterfinals, Prajnesh, who finds himself in the six-member Davis Cup squad for the tie against Uzbekistan next month, along with Sriram Balaji, will play German Pirmin Haenle.

The champion last week in Guwahati, fourth seed Sasi Kumar Mukund got past Tejas Chaukulkar to set up a repeat of the final against Sami Reinwein of Germany.

Vishnu Vardhan, Sidharth Rawat, Siddharth Vishwakarma and second seed Sriram Balaji were the others to make the quarterfinals.

The results:

Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Mohit Mayur 6-2, 6-3; Pirmin Haenle (Ger) bt Suraj Prabodh 6-1, 7-6(4); Vishnu Vardhan bt Vijayant Malik 6-1, 6-0; Sidharth Rawat bt Sivadeep Kosaraju 6-1, 6-0; Sami Reinwein (Ger) bt Alexis Canter 6-2 6-2; Sasi Kumar Mukund bt Tejas Chaukulkar 7-5, 6-4; Siddharth Vishwakarma bt Rishab Agarwal 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Sriram Balaji bt Vasisht Cheruku 6-3, 6-2.

Doubles (quarterfinals): Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Mohit Mayur & Niki Poonacha 7-6(3), 6-2; Pirmin Haenle (Ger) & Rishab Agarwal bt Alexis Canter (GBR) & Daniiar Duldaev (Kgz) 6-3, 6-2; Kunal Anand & Anvit Bendre bt Aryan Goveas & Sasi Kumar Mukund 6-2, 6-1; Alexander Centenari (US) & Sami Reinwein (Ger) bt Jeson Patrombon (Phi) & Tejas Chaukulkar 3-6, 6-2, 11-9.

2017-03-08

Prajnesh Gunneswaran strengthens field in Bhilai, as top seed

BHILAI, MARCH 5:

Prajnesh Gunneswaran will strengthen the field in the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament to be played at the BSP Tennis Complex from Monday.

The 27-year-old Chennai left-hander has been busy in the Challenger circuit and had failed to capitalise on the matchpoints against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in a marathon match of the Australian Open wild card event in China.

With India set to play Uzbekistan in Davis Cup at home in April, everyone knows how well Istomin had capitalised on the wild card to beat Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

It also tells a lot about not gauging a player with his world rank of 341. With a six-member team likely to be announced for Davis Cup on Monday, the players may not be able to impress the selectors any more at the moment.

Yet, it will be another good event for the Indian players to improve their rank before they venture out to face the tougher challenges.

Yuki Bhambri, Sriram Balaji and Sasi Kumar Mukund had won the first three tournaments in the current circuit and it will be interesting to see whether another Indian player encashes the winner’s cheque.

The seedings: 1. Prajnesh Gunneswaran, 2. Sriram Balaji, 3. Vishnu Vardhan; 4. Sasi Kumar Mukund, 5. Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6. Sidharth Rawat, 7. , 8. Jose Fco. Vidal Azorin (Esp).

The results:
Qualifying singles (second and final round): Paramveer Singh Bajwa bt Rishi Reddy 6-4, 6-3; Vasisht Cheruku bt Anirudh Chandrasekar 6-4, 7-5; Alexis Canter (GBR) bt Gokul Suresh 6-0, 6-1; Sivadeep Kosaraju bt Rohan Bhatia 6-2, 6-0; BR Nikshep bt Taha Kapadia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Daniar Duldaev (Kgz) bt Sai Saran Reddy 6-2, 6-3; Ankit Chopra bt Arnav Alok Goel 6-1, 6-4; Abhinansu Borthakur bt Kunal Vazirani 6-3, 6-4.

2017-03-05

Zeel Desai beats Mahak Jain for ITF women's title

GWALIOR, MARCH 5:

Eighth seed Zeel Desai beat wild card Mahak Jain 6-3, 7-5 to clinch her maiden ITF women’s title on Saturday.

The Australian Open junior quarterfinalist, the 18-year-old Zeel did miss a matchpoint and dropped serve in the tenth game of the second set, but scotched all hopes with a clinical performance in the climax.

Having been beaten by the 14-year-old Mahak in the ITF grade-2 junior final after a whirlwind start in Delhi before the Australian Open earlier this season, the tall Zeel, coached by Todd Clark, handled the challenge with due respect to her opponent.

After dropping a set each to Eetee Maheta and Ramya Natarajan in the first two rounds, Zeel had stepped it up to outplay the national hard and grass court champion Riya Bhatia in the quarterfinals. She had quelled the challenge of Swiss qualifier Lulu Radovcic in straight sets in the semifinals.

On the other hand, Mahak had got past top seed Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman in the semifinals, after fighting past qualifier Bhuvana Kalva. She had cruised past Amrita Mukherjee and seventh seed Sri Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy in the earlier rounds in justifying her wild card.

It was a strong statement by Zeel and Mahak, ranked 31 and 55 in the world among the juniors, who will focus on the grade-1 junior tournaments in Asia, before they train their attention towards the professional women’s circuit.

2017-03-05

Sasi Kumar Mukund wins third ITF men's singles title

GUWAHATI, MARCH 4:

The Commonwealth Youth champion Sasi Kumar Mukund beat Sami Reinwein of Germany 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the final of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament on Saturday.
It was the third singles title in the professional circuit for the 20-year-old Mukund who had won a title each in the last two years, one at home and one in Indoensia.

‘’I am happy with this title because I had not made the final for two years in India’’, said Mukund.

In a well contested final, Mukund played sharp at the start to take a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game, which proved decisive in helping him clinch the set.

Mukund conceded that he had become defensive midway through the second set, which saw him lose four games on the trot, and losing that set.

However, in the decider Mukund did not give his opponent any chance and tightened his grip after going up a break in the fifth game. Mukund converted two of five breakpoints that he forced. He dropped serve twice in the second set, but did not offer a single breakpoint to the 24-year-old German in the first or third sets.

After losing the semifinals to Vishnu Vardhan in Jorhat last week and the quarterfinals to Haadin Bava rather tamely in Chandigarh earlier, it was a welcome title for Mukund. He gave credit to coach Aditya Sachdeva in Delhi for guiding him. He also praised the travelling coach Manu Bajpai who has been working with him for three weeks.

Mukund had also made two semifinals of doubels in three weeks. He will play the fourth ITF men’s event in the Indian circuit in Bhilai next week.

The results (final): Sasi Kumar Mukund bt Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

2017-03-04

Malikaa and Sandeep for World Junior Tennis

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3:

Malikaa Marathe and VM Sandeep will spearhead the Indian under-14 teams in the Asia-Oceania World Junior tennis tournament to be played in Bangkok.

The boys event will be played from March 20 and the girls event from March 27.

The teams:
Boys: VM Sandeep, Divesh Gahlot, Nishant Dabas. Captain: S. Narendranath.

Girls: Malikaa Marathe, Sarah Dev, Gargi Pawar. Captain: Radhika Tulpule.

2017-03-03

Zeel Desai shocks national champion Riya Bhatia

GWALIOR, MARCH 2:

The best Indian junior girl in the country Zeel Desai asserted her growing game by beating the national champion and second seed Riya Bhatia 6-4, 6-3 in the quarerfinals of the ITF women’s tennis tournament at the City Centre Tennis Complex on Thursday.

Bubbling with confidence after her fine run in the Australian Open juniors, Zeel competntly tackled Riya who had represented the country in the recent Fed Cup in Kazakhstan.

In keeping with the trend, the dimunitive Mahak Jain, another bright young girl stopped the fine run of qualifier Bhuvana Kalva in three sets.

Sai Samhitha had the top seed Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman on the hook, but let her escape to victory in three sets.

In the semifinals, Mahak will play Fatma while Zeel will challenge the Swiss Lulu Radovcic.

The results:

Singles (quarterfinals): Fatma Al Nabhani (Oma) bt Sai Samhitha 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; Mahak Jain bt Bhuvana Kalva 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Lulu Radovcic (Sui) bt Natasha Palha 6-3, 6-0; Zeel Desai bt Riya Bhatia 6-4, 6-3.

Doubles (semifinals): Natasha Palha & Rishika Sunkara bt Alexandra Walters (Aus) & Shivika Burman 4-6, 6-2, 10-5; Riya Bhatia & Shweta Rana bt Prerna Bhambri & Nidhi Chilumula 6-3, 7-5.

Quarterfinals: Natasha Plaha & Rishika Sunkara bt Sai Samhitha & Amrita Mukherjee 6-0, 6-3; Prerna Bhambri & Nidhi Chilumula bt Rushmi chakravarthi & Eetee Maheta 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-6.

2017-03-02

Vishnu Vardhan serves his best at the crunch to make semifinals

GUWAHATI, MARCH 2:

Second seed Vishnu Vardhan was stretched to his wit’s end by Vijay Sundar Prashanth but wriggled out with a 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament on Thursday.

Vishnu missed three matchpoints in the second set, but gave credit to his opponent for stepping it up on the key moments.

‘’On one of those points, I served and made a drop volley. I don’t know how he came and lobbed over me’’, recalled Vishnu after enduring a tough battle that lasted three hours and 20 minutes.

In the decider, Vishnu broke Prashanth’s serve in the tenth game to clinch the contest. He will play compatriot Sasi Kumar Mukund who beat Sidharth Rawat in straight sets.

The other semifinal will be between Shane Vinsant of the US and Sami Reinwein of Germany. The latter subdued Sanam Singh for the loss of three games.

In doubles, Vishnu in partnership with Sriram Balaji made the semifinals., whereas Sanam Singh and Vijay Sundar Prashanth reached the final.

The results:

Singles (quarterfinals): Shane Vinsant (US) bt Jose Fco-Vidal Azorin (Esp) 6-4, 6-2; Sami Reinwein (Ger) bt Sanam Singh 6-1, 6-2; Sasi Kumar Mukund bt Sidharth Rawat 6-3, 6-4; Vishnu Vardhan bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-4.

Doubels (semifinals): Sanam Singh & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Alexander Centenari (US) & Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6-4, 6-2.
Quarterfinals: Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Mateusz Terczynski (Pol) & Jose Fco. Vidal Azorin (Esp) 7-6(5), 6-1; Vijay Sundar Prashanth & Sanam Singh bt Pirmin Haenle (Ger) & Shane Vinsant (US) 7-5, 6-2.

2017-03-02

Sriram Balaji wins a double crown in ITF Futures

JORHAT, FEB. 25:

Sriram Balaji won a double crown as he clinched the singles title beating Vishnu Vardhan, and partnered him to win the doubles title in the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament on Saturday.

After a good start, Balaji eased to a 6-2, 7-6(1) victory. In the doubles Balaji and Vishnu prevailed 10-6 in the super tie-break against Mohit Mayur and Vijay Sundar Prashanth.

It was the eighth Futures singles title for Balaji. Interestingly, it was only his fourth victory over Vishnu in ten meetings in the professional circuit, and the first time in a final. Vishnu who had lost to Balaji in the National championship final, had beaten him in two previous finals in the professional circuit, including one last year.

It was the second successive singles final for Balaji who had lost to Yuki Bhambri last week in Chandigarh.

Both Balaji and Vishnu have won dozens of doubles titles.

The results (finals):
Singles: Sriram Balaji bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-2, 7-6(1).

Doubles: Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Mohit Mayur & Vijay Sundar Prashanth 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-6.

2017-02-25

Divesh Gahlot and Sudipta Senthil Kumar triumph on the Road to Wimbledon

Divesh Gahlot and Sudipta Senthil Kumar won the boys and girls titles in the fourth leg of the Road to Wimbledon National series under-14 tennis tournament on the grass courts of South Club in Kolkata on Saturday.

While Divesh battled past top seed VM Sandeep in three sets, Sudipta sailed past Srujana Rayarala for the loss of three games.

The top-16 players from the circuit will compete in the Masters to be staged on grass at the Delhi Gymkhana Club in April.

The champion and runners-up in the boys and girls events of the Masters will travel to London along with coaches to compete in the UK under-14 championship in Wimbledon in August.

Siddhant Banthia, Adil Kalyanpur, Sacchitt Sharma and Mahak Jain had set the trend of Indian players winning titles in the UK championship on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon.

Last year, the Indian players were unable to make such an impact, as China strengthened competition while the British themselves tightened up their game.

The results (finals):

Boys: Divesh Gahlot bt VM Sandeep 6-0, 6-7(1), 6-4.

Girls: Sudipta Senthil Kumar bt Srujana Rayarala 6-0, 6-3.

2017-02-19

Ramkumar, Yuki take India to a 4-1 victory over New Zealand

PUNE, FEB. 5:

Ramkumar Ramanathan did not have to push himself hard to tame Finn Tearney to clinch the Davis Cup tie for India. The 22-year-old Ramkumar did not drop his serve once again in the tie as he overwhelmed the Kiwi 7-5, 6-1, 6-0, reeling off the last 11 games.

Yuki Bhambri who played a key role in giving a vibrant start for the host on the first day did drop a set to the deserving Jose Statham, but played strong overall with his all-round game that kept the spectators entertained for long.

Yuki eventually prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. The Kiwi could have won in straight sets, but for Yuki winning the first set from being down 2-5. There was no such revival in the second set as Statham was sharp in serving out. In the decider, Yuki bounced back from a break in the first game with a quick break back and broke decisively in the tenth game.

After the superb performance of Artem Sitak and Michael Venus, who won the pivotal doubles against Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan, it was an anticlimax for the New Zealanders, but they kept reminding that they were ranked beyond 400 in the world, with their flowing errors.

The Indian team started the celebrations immediately after Ramkumar gave the team an unassailable 3-1 lead, by tossing the outgoing captain Anand Amritraj three times in the air. The routine was slowly followed on coach Zeeshan Ali and continued for Yuki and Leander as well.

At the end, the team came up with a cameo dance, like the way it had done after the tie against Korea in Chandigarh last year. If anything the cameraderie in the team was bewitching.

In the next round, India will play at home from April 7 to 9 against Uzbekistan, which beat Korea, for a berth in the World Group play-off.

Ramkumar served well and saved five breakpoints in the match to ensure a clean record, with his serve Like he had saved three breakpoints at 0-40 in one game against Statham on the first day, Ramkumar did so against Tearney as well with his strong serves. He fired 12 aces, but had nine doublefaults as well. He converted six of 15 breakpoints to cruise home.

Yet, there was a distinct lack of sting in his strokes, which stood in such contrast to the explosive serves. Maybe that completely bamboozled the opponent, who himself struggled with 16 doublefaults that complicated matters.

On the hard courts, on which Yuki came fresh with power packed strokes, Ramkumar played the spin far too much as if he was playing on clay. Against an opponent like Tearney, he could try anything and get away.

Overall, it was a job well done. Over to Mahesh Bhupathi to take the team forward from the next tie, as the captain.

In a special step, the organisers who had done a wonderful job of hosting the tie, after a gap of 43 years in Pune, in such a vibrant atmosphere, asked the captain and all the Indian players, including Saketh Myneni, to address the crowd which stayed back after the entertaining day in pleasant breeze and bright lights to savour the moment.

It was a fitting climax that would stay in memory of everyone who witnessed the tie.

The results:

India bt New Zealand 4-1 (Yuki Bhambri bt Finn Tearney 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Jose Statham 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; Leander Paes & Vishnu Vardhan lost to Artem Sitak & Michael Venus 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(6), 3-6; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Finn Tearney 7-5, 6-1, 6-0; Yuki Bhambri bt Jose Statham 7-5, 3-6, 6-4).

2017-02-05

Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan make it 2-0

PUNE, FEB. 3:

Rankings go out of the window in Davis Cup, only if you let go!

Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan were forthright as they put the Kiwis in their place, to give India a 2-0 start in the Asia Oceania Davis Cup tie at the Balewadi Tennis Complex here on Friday.

After Yuki Bhambri handled the initial hiccups in the first two sets, with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Finn Tearney, Ramkumar came out blazing with his big serves and explosive forehands on a slow court, to record a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over the seasoned Jose Statham in the second singles.

That set up the stage for Leander Paes to go for a world record doubles victory on Saturday evening with his trusted partner Vishnu Vardhan, who has magically sprung into the tie from nowhere.

Having returned in a splendid fashion into the big league of the professional circuit with impressive performances at the Chennai Open and the Australian Open, the 24-year-old Yuki was expected to play much better than what his rank of 368 may indicate. He did not disappoint, as he played increasingly better, bouncing back from early breaks of serve in the first two sets and not giving any break chance for the opponent in the third.

‘’I stepped up when required, especially in the third set. I did not let him runaway when he had the early leads. That was the key to the contest’’, said Yuki, understandably happy to give the host a strong start. He had been ranked a career-best 88 by the end of 2015 before a painful ‘’tennis elbow’’ temporarily felled his aspirations to scale greater heights.

Even though Yuki had trained on the court diligently for the last few days, he needed to adjust to the style and pace of his opponent, the 26-year-old Finn Tearney ranked a modest 414 in the world. Once Yuki got a grip over the spin and pace of the courts, he just ripped his opponent apart. Yuki had five aces and as many doublefaults and converted 7 of 17 breakpoints that he forced. The Kiwi broke him thrice to lead 3-1 in the first set and 2-0 in the second.

Once Yuki saved two breakpoints and served out the second set in the 10th game, the Kiwi was literally looking down the barrel.

Ramkumar excelled with his big serves that reached up to 213 kilometres per hour. He whipped the forehand decisively many a time, and was quite crafty with his delectable slice that he floated with uncanny efficiency past the onrushing opponent.

Having played the big boys of Spain in the last Davis Cup tie in September, the 22-year-old Ramkumar was well equipped to handle an opponent ranked 417 even though Jose Statham had the experience of having tamed some of the best players in the region from China and Chinese Taipei.

The key to the whole match was that Ramkumar did not drop his serve even once as he saved all the three breakpoints that he faced. He did grunt with a high decibel level often, much to the amusement of the sizeable crowd, but entertained the spectators with a quality fare, winning some of the long rallies.

The 276th ranked Ramkumar fired 15 aces and committed eight doublefaults in the match. He converted four of six breakpoints to make it a staightforward affair for the host.

Captain Anand Amritraj, on his last assignment, was quite relieved that the pleasant conditions in the evening, in front of an appreciative audience, brought out the best from the Indian boys.

The results: India .leads New Zealand 2-0 (Yuki Bhambri bt Finn Tearney 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Jose Statham 6-3, 6-4, 6-3).

2017-02-03

Ajay Malik triumphs in Bengaluru, on the Road to Wimbledon

National under-14 champion Ajay Malik asserted his fighting qualities as he subdued Krishan Hooda 6-3, 7-6(6) in the boys final of the Road to Wimbledon AITA National series junior tennis tournament in Bengaluru on Saturday.

It was the second leg of the four leg series. The third leg will resume after a week’s gap in Chandigarh and will be followed by the fourth event on grass in Kolkata.

The Masters is scheduled to be held at the Delhi Gymkhana grass courts in April. The champions and runners-up in the boys and girls singles events will make it to the UK under-14 championship to be played in Wimbledon in August.

The Indian juniors had done very well in the novel project in the first two years with Siddhant Banthia, Adil Kalyanpur, Sacchitt Sharma and Mahak Jain winning the titles in Wimbledon. The batch last year could not make a similar impact, and the current crop may be hungry to regain the honour.

2017-01-29

Karan Srivastava, Tanisha Kashyap triumph in ITF juniors

INDORE, JAN. 28:

Karan Srivastava and Tanisha Kashyap won the boys and girls titles respectively in the ITF grade-5 junior tennis tournament at the Indore Tennis Club Complex on Saturday.

The sixth seeded Karan beat qualifier Dipin Wadhwa 6-4, 6-4. Fourth seed Tanisha Kashyap was more authoritative in her victory over fifth seed Shrivalli Rashmikaa who hit a flurry of winners but also committed many errors.

The results (finals):

Boys: Karan Srivastava bt Dipin Wadhwa 6-4, 6-4.

Girls: Tanisha Kashyap bt Shrivalli Rashmikaa 6-3, 6-3.

2017-01-28

VM Sandeep, Sarah Dev win the first leg of Road to Wimbledon

Sarah Dev and VM Sandeep won the girls and boys titles respectively in the Road to Wimbledon AITA National series under-14 tennis tournament at the Deccan Gymkhana in Pune on Saturday.

Second seed Sarah downed third seed Malikaa Marathe for the loss of five games. The trainee of coach Milos Pavlovic at the Harvest Tennis Academy in Jassowal, Ludhiana, Sarah was the favourite as she had asserted her game in the last season itself but was not lucky to make it to Wimbledon.

The boys final had to be called after five games as Divesh Gahlot twisted his ankle and retired. Top seed Sandeep, a ninth standard student from Chennai trains at the Triangle Tennis Academy under coach Udaykumar Reddy.

The results (finals):

Boys: VM Sandeep bt Divesh Gahlot 4-1 (retired).

Girls: Sarah Dev bt Malikaa Marathe 6-1, 6-4.

2017-01-22

Mahak Jain reserves her best for Zeel Desai in final

NEW DELHI, JAN. 14:

Second seed Mahak Jain did her confidence a world of good as she beat top seed Zeel Desai 7-6(6), 6-3 in the girls final of the ITF grade-2 junior tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Saturday.

By beating an opponent to whom she had lost the final at the same venue last year in the same event, the small-built but stout-hearted Mahak emphasised the improvement she had made. And that did her team, led by coach Sajid Lodi, proud.

At 15, Mahak showed commendable maturity of temperament and the will to play each point on merit, as she bounced back from being down 0-4 to record a memorable triumph.

The first set was the key to the contest of high intensity and Mahak survived a setpoint in the tie-break to edge ahead.

After winning five games on the trot from being 0-4, Mahak did drop serve in the 11th game, but broke back to force the tie-break.

Zeel was a bit unlucky as she got an overrule in the third point on the ninth game in the first set, when she should have been ahead 30-15. The point was replayed and she eventually dropped serve as the match tended to slip away from her firm grasp.

It had to be conceded that there were moments when Mahak was also not happy with some calls, but overall the umpire was quite sharp in matching the fierce strokes of the two players, both of whom would be competing in the Australian Open junior event soon in Melbourne.

In the second set, Mahak broke serve in the fifth and seventh games, but failed to serve out the match in the eighth. Zeel failed to convert three gamepoints in the ninth game as Mahak forced the errors to clinch the contest in about two hours.

It was the second grade-2 singles title for Mahak following the one in Japan. She had won the grade-3 title in Chandigarh last week. She had also finished runner-up in doubles with Yasmina Karimjanova of Uzbekistan. The additional points should help Mahak get closer to the top-50 from her current career-best rank of 62.

By winning some touch matches along the way, including the one over Axana Mareen of Belgium in the quarterfinals from being down 1-4 in the decider, Mahak had demonstrated a certain quality in her game that should take her far.

Even though Zeel was the favourite, and had beaten Mahak every time, there was no guarantee as coach Todd Clark had pointed out even before the final that Mahak played ‘’very solid’’.

On her part, Mahak was content to say that she had hoped to win. She was thrilled to execute an impressive performance that should give a lot of confidence to girls who feel that they don’t have the height to play better.

In the boys final, top seed Uisung Park of Korea bounced back after a lethargic start to beat the tall and strongly-built Len Schouten of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. Park had played only the doubles last week and won the title in Chandigarh. He was easily the best this week with his all-round game as he emerged victorious in both the singles and doubles.

The results (finals):

Boys: Uisung Park (Kor) bt Len Schouten (Ned) 3-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Girls: Mahak Jain bt Zeel Desai 7-6(6), 6-3.

2017-01-14

Sriram Balaji outplays eighth seed in Bangkok Challenger

NEW DELHI, JAN. 10:

Qualifier Sriram Balaji asserted his strong game with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over eighth seed Vaclavv Safranek of the Czech Republic in the first round of the $50,000 men’s Challenger tennis tournament in Bangkok on Tuesday.

In the pre-quarterfinals, Balaji, who has already assured himself of nine ATP points including three from the qualifying event, will play Jurgen Zopp of Estonia.

In the $75,000 Challenger in Australia, however, Vijay Sundar Prashanth missed a matchpoint and let Sam Groth escape to victory at 6-7(1), 7-6(8), 6-3 in the first round. He collected $780 and there was no ATP point.

Vijay had already made the doubles quarterfinals in partnership with Corentin Moutet of France and will face third seeds Andre Begemann and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

The results:

$75,000 Challenger men, Canberra, Australia
Singles (first round): Sam Groth (Aus) bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-7(1), 7-6(8), 6-3.

$50,000 Challenger men, Bangkok, Thailand
Singles (first round): Sriram Balaji bt Vaclavv Safranek (Cze) 6-4, 6-0.

$15,000 ITF women, Martinique, France
Singles (first round): Alice Rame (Fra) bt Kyra Shroff 6-1, 7-5.

2017-01-10

Sriram Balaji qualifies for Bangkok Challenger

NEW DELHI, JAN. 9:

Seventh seed Sriram Balaji fought his way through three rounds of the qualifying event in the $50,000 ATP men’s Challenger tennis tournament in Bangkok.

In doubles, however, Balaji in partnership with Li Zhe of China was beaten 10-3 in the super tie-break in the pre-quarterfinals by Egor Gerasimov of Belarus and Aslan Karatsev of Russia.

Vijay Sundar Prashanth made the doubles quarterfinals of the $75,000 Challenger in Australia in partnership with Corentin Moutet of France.

The results:

$50,000 Challenger men, Bangkok, Thailand

Qualifying singles (third and final round): Sriram Balaji bt Sun
Fajing (Chn) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Second round: Sriram Balaji bt Pruchya
Isarow (Tha) 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5); Hong Seong-Chan (Kor) bt Sidharth Rawat 6-4, 6-0; First round: Sriram Balaji bt Worairin Kumthonkittikul (Tha) 6-1, 6-3; Kittipong Wachiramanowong (Tha) bt Sasi Kumar Mukund 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Sidharth Rawat bt Chanon Phunsawat (Tha) 6-3, 6-1.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Egor Gerasimov (Blr) & Aslan Karatsev
(Rus) bt Li Zhe (Chn) & Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-7(0), 10-3.

$75,000 Challenger men, Canberra, Australia
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Corentin Moutet (Fra) & Vijay Sundar
Prashanth bt Thomas Fancutt & James Frawley (Aus) 6-3, 7-5.

2017-01-09

Mahak Jain wins ITF junior title in Chandigarh

CHANDIGARH, JAN. 8:

Mahak Jain jumped to a smart start for the season as she won the girls title in the ITF grade-3 junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Stadium on Sunday.

The 15-year-old Mahak, seeded No.1 beat the fourth seed Axana Mareen of Belgium after recovering from a slow start, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2

After rain had washed out play on Saturday, Mahak was perhaps relatively rusty at the start. After having won the grade-2 title in Japan in October, it was another morale-booster for the small-built Mahak, ranked 70 in the world.

In the boys final, however, Dhruv Sunish could not capitalise on winning the first set in the tie-break and was beaten 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-3 by Jack Draper of Britain.

Mahak will play the next grade-2 tournament in Delhi, in which she had finished runner-up to Zeel Desai last year. She is, in fact, waiting for the visa to go to the Australian Open and get a taste of Grand Slam competition.

The results (finals):

Boys: Jack Draper (GBR) bt Dhruv Sunish 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-3.

Girls: Mahak Jain bt Axana Mareen (Bel) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.

2017-01-08

Siddhant Banthia, Dhruv Sunish, Mahak Jain and Rhea Verma make semifinals of ITF juniors

CHANDIGARH, JAN. 5:

Top seed Siddhant Banthia stayed on course as he beat eighth Tonkla Mulada of Thailand 6-2, 7-5 in the boys quarterfinals of the ITF grade-3 junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Thursday.

In the semifinals, Siddhant will be challenged by third seed Jack Draper of Britain.

Dhruv Sunish also continued to prove strong for his opponents as he outplayed fifth Seed Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-2. He will play Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan who pipped Sacchitt Sharma in the third set tie-break.

In the girls section, top seed Mahak Jain and unseeded Rhea Verma made the semifinals. Mahak will play third seed Thasaporn Naklo of Thailand while Rhea will clash against fourth seed Axana Mareen of Belgium.

In doubles, only Vasisht Cheruku could make the final from among Indian players in both the boys and girls section put together, as he in partnership with Jack Draper beat second seeds Siddhant Banthia and Parikshit Somani in straight sets.

The results:

Boys (quarterfinals): Siddhant Banthia bt Tonkla Mulada (Tha) 6-2,
7-5; Jack Draper (GBR) bt Roko Savin (Cro) 6-2, 6-2; Sergey Fomin (Uzb) bt Sacchitt Sharma 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(5); Dhruv Sunish bt Dostanbek Tashbulatov (Kaz) 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles (semifinals): Ulsung Park (Kor) & Hua-Chen Yu (Tpe) bt Calvin Golmei & Rishabh Sharda 6-1, 6-3; Vasisht Cheruku & Jack Draper (GBR) bt Siddhant Banthia & Parikshit Somani 6-2, 6-4.

Girls (quarterfinals): Mahak Jain bt Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-0, 6-0;
Thasaporn Naklo (Tha) bt Tanisha Kashyap 6-1, 6-1; Axana Mareen (Bel) bt Akanksha Bhan 6-3, 6-1; Rhea Verma bt Shivani Amineni 6-3, 7-6(5).

Doubles (semifinals): Esher Adeshina & Gemma Heath (GBR) bt Harsha Sai Challa & Sabhyata Nihalani 6-4, 6-3; Kuan Yi Lee (Tpe) & Mananchaya Sawangkaew (Tha) bt Shivani Amineni & Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-3, 6-3.

2017-01-05

Dhruv Sunish in quarterfinals of the ITF juniors

CHANDIGARH, JAN. 4:

Dhruv Sunish beat Freddie Grant of Britain 6-4, 6-2 in the boys pre-quarterfinals of the ITF grade-3 junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Wednesday.

Dhruv, who had beaten the second seed in the first round, was joined in the quarterfinals by top seed Siddhant Banthia and Sacchitt Sharma among the Indian players.

In the girls section, Shivani Amineni beat fifth seed Kuan Yi Lee of Chinese Taipei 6-1, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal against compatriot Rhea Verma. Top seed Mahak Jain, Vaidehi Chaudhari, Tanisha Kashyap, Akanksha Bhan were the other Indian girls to progress into the quarterfinals.

The results:

Boys (pre-quarterfinals): Siddhant Banthia bt Nikit Reddy 6-0, 6-1;
Tonkla (Tha) bt Abhimanyu Vannnem Reddy 3-6, 6-4, 6-4; Jack Draper (GBR) bt Vasisht Cheruku 6-3, 6-2; Roko Savin (Cro) bt Arthur Craig Pantino (Phi) 6-2, 6-4; Sergey Fomin (Uzb) bt Parikshit Somani 5-7, 6-2, 6-4; SAcchitt Sharma bt Siddharth Thakran 6-3, 5-7, 6-2; Dostanbek Tashbulatov (Kaz) bt Alex Solanki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Dhruv Sunish bt Freddie Grant (GBR) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles (quarterfinals): Ulsung Park (Kor) & Hua-Chen Yu (Te) bt Megh Bhargav atel & Alex solanki 6-1, 7-5; Calvin Golmei & Rishabh Sharda bt Freddie Grant (GBR) & Roko Savin (Cro) 4-6, 7-5, 10-5; Jack Draper (GBR) & Vasisht Cheruku bt Sergey Fomin (Uzb) & Dostanbek Tashbulatov (Kaz) 3-6, 6-1, 12-10; Siddhant Banthia & Parikshit Somani bt Rithvik Choudary Bollipalli & Shashank Theertha 6-2, 6-2.

Girls (pre-quarterfinals): Mahak Jain bt Aesha Patel 6-0, 6-0; Vaidehi Chaudhari bt Sabhyata Nihalani 6-4, 6-3; Thasaporn Naklo (Tha) bt Victoria Kalaitzis (Bel) 6-2, 6-3; Tanisha Kashyap bt Prinkle Singh 7-6(6), 6-4; Akanksha Bhan bt Gemma Heath (GBR) 6-3, 6-2; Axana Mareen (Bel) bt Shivani Manjanna 6-0, 6-0; Shivani Amineni bt Kuan Yi Lee (Tpe) 6-1, 6-3; Rhea Verma bt Mananchaya Sawangkaew (Tha) 6-1, 7-6(4).

Doubles (quarterfinals): Harsha Sai Challa & Sabhyata Nihalani bt Thasaporn Naklo (Tha) & Mihika Yadav 6-2, 0-6, 10-6; Esther Adeshina& Gemma Heath (GBR) bt Yasmina Karimjanova (Uzb) & Axana Mareen (Bel) 7-5, 6-2; Kuan Yi Lee (Tpe) & Mananchaya Awangkaew (Tha) bt Aesha Patel (US) & Aaliya Ebrahim 6-2, 6-2; Shivani Amineni & Vaidehi Chaudhari bt Victoria Kalaitzis (Bel) & Mahak Jain 6-3, 6-3.

2017-01-04

INDIAN UNDER-14 BOYS CLINCH ASIA TENNIS CUP

The Indian boys had little difficulty in asserting their supremacy as they outplayed Uzbekistan 2-0 in the final of the Asia Junior under-14 Cup at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha on Friday.

Captain of the Indian team Sajid Lodi said that it was a convincing performance by the four-member Indian team throughout the tournament, and the title helped the team win hospitality to witness the ATP Qatar Open next week, featuring some of the best players of the world like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych.

The Indian boys did not drop a match in the tournament featuring eight teams including from the host Qatar. India had topped its group, beating Hong Kong, Qatar and Jordan by 3-0 margin. It overwhelmed Sri Lanka 2-0 in the semifinals.

The other had featured Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar-B.

Aaryan Zaveri and Jaishvin Sidana were the other members of the team, apart from Dev Javia and VM Sandeep who featured in the final.

The Indian teams have been doing well in this tournament and enjoyed watching the Qatar Open ATP event, gaining invaluable experience.

The results (final): India bt Uzbekistan 2-0 (Dev Javia bt Aziz Dadabaev 6-2, 6-1; VM Sandeep bt David Bagrinovskiy 6-3, 6-2).

2017-01-01
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