Ajay stays unruffled to emerge champion
By Kamesh Srinivasan
CHANDIGARH, NOV. 30. Ajay Ramaswami pipped Manoj Mahadevan to the gold 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the men's final of the National Games tennis at the CLTA Complex here on Friday.
Playing the final you need a big heart and a strong mind, more than a big game, and Ajay emphasised the point well by handling the big points and the whole match like a champion.
Rushmi Chakravarti proved too good for Sonal Phadke as she powered to a 6-0, 6-3 victory in less than an hour in the women's final.
It was Ajay's confident demeanour, backed by an attacking game that proved decisive eventually, as Manoj went into a shell in the climax when he was unable to serve with any degree of conviction.
Manoj saved two breakpoints in the 11th game of the decider, but netted a half-volley on the third. Ajay was serving well throughout the third set, in which he conceded only six points in his six service games. Thus, it was no surprise that he wound up the show without any further drama, converting the second matchpoint with a backhand volley.
Manoj had stumbled to a poor start, getting broken in the first game, and struggled to get back into the match. Ajay saved two breakpoints in the eighth game and eventually took the first in 50 minutes.
In the second set, Ajay twice doublefaulted on breakpoint to concede the advantage, but saved three setpoints in all in the ninth and tenth games, before erring his way into the third set.
It was entertaining tennis in the decider, before a bout of nerves spoilt the rhythm of Manoj in the climax of the two-hour and 37-minute duel. In contrast, Ajay fired some delightful shots to sprint to a well-deserved gold.
In the women's final, Rushmi Chakravarti was in fine form, even as Sonal grappled with her indifferent game. Rushmi took the first 10 games, before Sonal put up a semblance of a fight, after saving a breakpoint in the 11th game.
However, Rushmi was in control, stroking with punch and smacked the inside-out forehand to blow Sonal off the court this day. Rushmi went on to win the doubles title with Sai Jayalakshmy, though Sonal Phadke and Liza Pereira stretched the Indian Oil officers from Chennai to the third set.
Nitin Kirtane and S.K. Tara took the bronze medal in the men's section and women's section respectively. Sheetal Goutham tripped and hurt her ankle during the match for the bronze medal, and eventually was forced to concede all her three bronze medal matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
The Kirtane cousins, Nitin and Sandeep exhibited a fine brand of tennis, to clinch the doubles title ahead.
Men: Singles (final): Ajay Ramaswami (Mah) bt Manoj Mahadevan (TN) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Third place: Nitin Kirtane (Mah) bt Vinod Sridhar (TN) 6-0, 6-2.
Doubles (final): Sandeep Kirtane and Nitin Kirtane (Mah) bt Manoj Mahadevan and Rishi Sridhar (TN) 6- 2, 6-4; Third place: Vijay Kannan and Vinod Sridhar (TN) bt Ajay Ramaswami and Vijayendra Laad (Mah) 6-4, 6-3.
Women: Singles (final): Rushmi Chakravarti (TN) bt Sonal Phadke (Mah) 6-0, 6-3; Third place: S.K. Tara (Kar) bt Sheetal Goutham (Kar) 6-7 (3-7), 3-2 (retired).
Doubles (final): Sai Jayalakshmy and Rushmi Chakravarti (TN) bt Sonal Phadke and Liza Pereira (Mah) 6- 1, 3-6, 6-2; Third place: Radhika Tulpule and Radhika Mandke (Mah) w/o Sheetal Goutham and S.K. Tara (Kar).
Mixed doubles (final): Radhika Tulpule and Sandeep Kirtane (Mah) bt Rushmi Chakravarti and Vijay Kannan (TN) 6-4, 7-5; Third place: Ankita Bhambri and Shivang Mishra (Del) w/o Sheetal Goutham and S.K. Shivshankar (Kar).
Send this article to Friends by