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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Vishaal downs Vinod

By Kamesh Srinivasan

NEW DELHI, JUNE 20. Vishaal Uppal gladdened the hearts of his home supporters as he clinched the title in the second leg of the ITF Satellite tennis circuit at the DLTA Complex here on Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Vishaal, who resumed play this morning, trailing 1-3 after the match had been washed out on Saturday evening following rain, recorded a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over the third-seeded Vinod Sridhar.

It was a double triumph for the 27-year-old Vishaal, especially over his erstwhile teammate in GAIL India Limited, as the Delhi lad had won the doubles crown earlier in partnership with Ajay Ramaswami, beating Vinod and Rishi Sridhar in the final.

It was also the second title at this level for Vishaal, following the Masters title that he had won in a similar circuit in 2002.

Despite losing the first set in a hurry, following a second break in the fifth game, the lanky Vishaal stuck to his game plan of serve and volley, that paid him rich dividends as the match progressed. The fact that Vishaal had 13 aces, two service winners and 17 volley winners showed how well he exhibited his art, though he had to be content hitting the odd groundstroke winner. He did move Vinod around, denying him the pace. He had nine double-faults and nine other winners.

While Vishaal did well to maintain his level of game, with a quite resolve, Vinod, an employee with ONGC these days, allowed his game to dip, with a string of uncharacteristic errors. He got broken in the fourth game of the second set, and that proved decisive though he did well to save breakpoints in the sixth and eighth games.

Vishaal on the other hand was serving as well as he can, and faced only one breakpoint in all in the second and third sets, which he saved with a smart winner in the eighth game of the decider.

The 24-year-old Vinod did well to save a breakpoint in the first game of the third set, but was unlucky to get two bad calls that broke his resistance in the fifth and ninth games.

After saving a breakpoint in the fifth game with a passing shot, Vinod got a poor call from the chair umpire on his second serve that saw him face his second breakpoint in the game. He netted the next point to lose the initiative.

In the ninth game, which proved to be the last, the linesman called out Vinod's shot on the baseline at deuce, and the Chennai lad buried a backhand volley into the net in making a quick bow. He just walked past Vishaal at the net, without bothering to congratulate him after the match, as Vinod was unable to hide his disappointment at the alarming manner in which the calls went against him on those crucial points.

Vinod had to blame himself for allowing things go out of hand, as his strokes lacked the sting this morning, though he used the lob to telling effect. He had only eight passing shots, seven return winners, four volleys and eight other winners to speak for his ability. His serve proved a big handicap as Vinod did not have a single ace, and the only consolation was that he committed only two double-faults, one of which was not his fault.

The winner collected 21 circuit points and $812.50 and the runner-up had to be content with 15 circuit points and $562.50.

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