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Jeevan humbles Rupesh, enters final

By Our Special Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, FEB. 12. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan continued with his hot streak and humbled top-seeded Rupesh Roy 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ITF grade `III' junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex here on Thursday.

It was sweet revenge for the 15-year-old Chennai lad, as he had lost to Rupesh in the quarterfinals of the grade `II' event last week in Delhi.

It was such a swift execution that the talented Rupesh hardly had the time to put his game together. By the time Jeevan stormed into his maiden singles final on the international junior circuit, with a vibrant game on the centre court, his doubles partner, second-seeded Navdeep Singh, had just won the first set on the outside courts in the other semifinal.

Navdeep started lethargically against Faris Khatib of Britain, but showed considerable urgency in wresting the initiative in the tie-break of the first set, after half a dozen breaks of serve. Rupesh saved a breakpoint in the 11th game to stay on course, and won the tie-break 8-6, converting his second set point.

A dispirited Khatib, the third seed who had beaten Navdeep in the quarterfinals the previous week, could not fight on thereafter and surrendered meekly, leaving the Indian lads to fight it out in the final, for the third week in a row, following the ones in Kolkata and Delhi.

In the girls' event, it was the same old story, as top-seeded I-Hsuan Hwang of Chinese Taipei and fourth-seeded Pichittra Thongdach of Thailand made their third successive final, at the expense of unseeded Parul Goswami and second-seeded Madura Ranganathan respectively.

Pichittra was nervous in the climax and thus failed to convert a matchpoint in the ninth game. She also failed to serve out the match in the 10th and 12th games, squandering two more matchpoints in the process. However, the Thai girl hit a rousing backhand down-the-line winner at 4-4 in the tie-break to tilt the balance in her favour.

Pichittra also made the doubles final with Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, beating the team that had stopped them in the final last week, Madura Ranganathan and Vandana Murali, rather comfortably.

The results (semifinals):

Boys (singles): Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Rupesh Roy 6-1, 6-3; Navdeep Singh bt Faris Khatib (GBR) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.

Doubles: Rupesh Roy/Sumit Prakash Gupta bt Takeru Yamamoto/Shimpachiro Ikeno (Jpn) 6-1, 6-2; Navdeep Singh/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Martin Sayer/Xiao-Peng Lai (Hkg) 6-0, 6-1.

Girls (singles): I-Hsuan Hwang (Tpe) bt Parul Goswami 6-1, 6-1; Pichittra Thongdach (Tha) bt Madura Ranganathan 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

Doubles: Yana Nemerovski (Isr)/Jung-Yoon Shin (Kor) bt Punam Reddy/Kartiki Bhat 6-3, 6-3; Yanina Wickmayer (Bel)/Pichittra Thongdach (Tha) bt Vandana Murali/Madura Ranganathan 6-2, 6-4.

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