Sunday, Nov 09, 2003
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By Nandakumar Marar
Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan pumps her fist after winning the ITF women's circuit tournament in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Isha put pressure on herself from the fourth game of the first set by erring in direction and length, volleying wide and long to make the eighth seed's task very easy. Akgul wisely focussed on keeping the ball in play and cashing in on every weak return to carve out an easy 6-3, 6-2 victory for a major singles title of her career, worth 25 WTA points.
The bonus came in the form of $3000 for Akgul, who converted 10 service winners, compared to the Indian's four, enjoyed a first serve percentage of 74 (Isha could only manage 46 per cent) and conceded just 20 points through errors against 31 by her opponent who gained 17 points and $1700 as the runner-up.
Isha enjoyed home advantage and was expected to capitalise on an excellent opportunity to grab a title in familiar surroundings. She hit huge topspin forehands at the beginning, making Akgul's task difficult.
As the set moved into the fourth game, the Indian began spraying the ball to fall behind after dropping the fourth game.
Isha broke back in the seventh but by then had given away so many points through unforced errors that a turnaround appeared difficult.
Akgul began with a bang in the second set, breaking her demoralised rival in the second and fourth games to lead 4-0. Isha tried desperate measures in an effort to halt the slide, but found herself passed twice at the net after following up slanted volleys hit wide off the eighth seed's backhand. The Indian got a brief look-in with a break in the fifth game, helped by the Uzbeki who momentarily let down her guard, but could not turn the final around.
The results: Singles (final): 8-Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) bt Isha Lakhani 6-3, 6-2.
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