Saturday, Jun 07, 2003
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By Our Sports Reporter
Varsha's 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) semifinal victory in the girls under-18 singles of the Wearhouse AITA Championship Series tennis set up a title clash against another Karnataka girl Asha Nandakumar. Asha, the tournament's second seed, outslugged Akshitha B. Raj, also from Karnataka, for a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win.
The boys final will be between top seed Prashanth Vijay Sunder of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka's S. Prateek, the second seed.
While Prashanth ended the winning streak of unseeded Dhruv Sundar with a 6-4, 6-1 margin, Prateek had his hands full in the first set against Siddharth Alapati of Andhra Pradesh before winning 7-6 (11-9), 6-1.
Varsha began with an ace and with her first serve coming good, won the first set in quick time at 6-2, with breaks in the second and sixth games, despite being broken in the third.
The second set went with breaks till 3-3 with both players struggling for rhythm. With the next six games going with serve, the match slipped into the tie-breaker wherein Varsha led 5-3 before closing the set and match at 7-5.
For 15-year old Vandana, a finalist in an ITF tourney in Colombo earlier this year, nothing went right and her taller rival's pounding forehands was simply too hot to handle on this day.
Asha claimed the first set against Akshitha in the other semifinals at 6-2 but trailed 0-4 in the second before the later lapsed into a series of errors. Asha did go 5-4 up with a string of breaks but managed to wrap up the set only in the tie-break winning 7-4.
The boys semifinals proved tame affairs as Prashanth proved a touch superior to left handed Dhruv Sunder, while Prateek overcame an equally erratic Siddharth 7-6 (11-9) after being 3-6 in the first set tie-breaker before cruising through in the second at 6-1.
Both Prashanth Vijay Sunder and S. Prateek have lined themselves for a double. The duo made it to the doubles final with their respective partners. While Prashanth partnered M. Vinod to down the R.K. Praveen-M.Fariz combine 6-4, 6-4 the duo of Prateek and Manu Bajpai was too hot for Siddharth Hande and Nithesh Natarajan to handle. Prateek and Manu won 6-0, 6-4.
Boys Under-18 singles (semifinals): Prashanth Vijay Sunder (TN) bt Dhruv Sundar (Kar) 6-4, 6-1; S. Prateek (Kar) bt Siddharth Alapati (AP) 7-6 (11-9), 6-1.
Boys Under-18 doubles (semifinals): Prashanth Vijay Sunder & M. Vinod bt R.K. Praveen & M. Fariz 6-4, 6-4; S. Prateek & Manu Bajpai bt Siddharth Hande & Nitesh Natarajan 6-0, 6-4.
Boys Under-18 doubles (quarterfinals): Prashanth & Vinod bt Mangal Sriram & Mesheer Vaswani 6-3, 6-4; Fariz & Praveen bt Vishnu Rajam & Manish Rao 6-4, 6-2; Siddharth & Nitesh bt V.V. Anurag & T.S. Pradeep 6-3, 6-0; Prateek & Manu bt Karthik S. Raju & Kaushik S. Raju 7-6 (22-20), 6-3.
Girls Under-18 singles (semifinals): Varsha Shivshankar (Kar) bt Vandana Murali (TN) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); Asha Nandakumar (Kar) bt Akshitha B. Raj (Kar) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
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