Saturday, Dec 07, 2002
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By Nandakumar Marar
"I wanted to win, didn't matter how I did it,'' she said, after sealing a 6-2, 6-4 win, missing a few heartbeats along the way to the final. Turkey's Ipek Senoglu enjoyed an easier ride into Saturday's title clash, deceiving Jennifer Schmidt with variations for a 6-3, 6-2 verdict.
The pitfalls of inexperience showed up in the first semifinal, a contest between unseeded Bondarenko and qualifier Beller which saw 36 unforced errors each over 65 minutes of frenzied action at the Deccan Gymkhana court, most of them happening in a strange second set when only three out of 10 games went to the server.
The Ukranian was broken thrice before edging ahead 4-3, though only after slipping from 40-0 to deuce, looking shell-shocked when even the underarm serve failed to clear the net. Beller, clearly exhausted after playing through the qualifiers, failed to take advantage of her rival's momentary panic and allowed Bondarenko to get away with as many as 80 per cent points on second serve.
The Ukranian, firing away in the attacking mode, like against Radhika Tulpule in the quarters, put too much pressure on herself in the second set played in searing heat. She attacked the ball with vigour, but relied on raw power and pace to dominate, with little thought to variation as a ploy to keep a rival guessing.
Beller struck up a rhythm in the second set, encouraged by an initial break and succeeded in keeping more balls in play. Both tried hard to keep service errors down, but ended up with 12 double-faults between them, seven by Bondarenko and five by the German.
Ipek Senoglu, watching this bizarre court drama between two potential finalists, slipped into a groove from the outset against Jennifer Schmidt in the second semifinal. The fifth seed from Turkey kept her rival scampering all over with slices and lobs, used pace change as a weapon against the huge Austrian, not so adept at variations. "I committed a lot of mistakes because she kept on mixing shots. After all, she is older than me and more experienced,'' said Jennifer, a 19-year-old looking to head for home after 18 weeks of ITF tournaments in 2002. "I played all my tennis on clay, getting used to hardcourt is difficult.''
The Austrian changed tactics in the second, picking up points with low sliced returns, deep to the baseline and made life difficult for her rival. Both exchanged breaks in the third and fourth games respectively, before the steadier Senoglu sprinted home, preparing for a final showdown with Bondarenko, who is line for a double.
The Ukranian teamed up with imposing Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova to defeat Sania Mirza/Radhika Tulpule 6-3, 7-6 (1) in the women's doubles final. The winning pair collected five WTA points and $325 each, the Indians got four points and $175 each. The ITF Pune leg is sponsored by National Egg Co-ordination Committee.
The results (Indians unless specified):
Singles semifinals: Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukr) bt Varana-Marie Beller (Ger) 6-2, 6-4; 5-Ipek Senoglu (Tur) bt 2-Jennifer Schmidt (Aut) 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles final: K. Bondarenko (Ukr)/Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) bt Sania Mirza/Radhika Tulpule 6-3, 7-6 (1).
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