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Isha is champion

Special Correspondent

Punam Reddy goes down fighting


  • Isha pockets $ 1580 and six circuit points
  • Punam is a player worth watching

    — Photo: Vivek Bendre

    ONE GOAL: Isha Lakhani, who won the ITF women's title in Mumbai on Saturday.

    MUMBAI: Isha Lakhani hit her way out of trouble against gutsy Punam Reddy in the MSLTA-ITF women's tennis singles final. The strokemaker from Mumbai remained on court for more than two hours before sighting victory, relieved and exhausted to finish on the right side of 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 scoreline in the $ 10,000 event. The champion pocketed $ 1580 and six circuit points, the runner-up $ 980 and four points.

    Isha began with a flourish, wrapping up the first set aided by a break in the third game, playing to strengths and making her intentions clear with a swatted backhand crosscourt winner. Punam came up with aces on gamepoint twice, attacked her experienced rival's serve and almost caught up at 4-5 before bowing to the champion's strokeplay.

    Different person

    The youngster, seeded one step behind Isha at number six, started on the wrong foot by getting broken in game one, caught up at 2-2 and two more breaks in the sixth and 10th were enough to draw level. Prowling along the baseline, Punam was a different person altogether with a mix of big serves and searing volleys.

    Both finalists hit with precision and power in the third set, Isha's variety in shotmaking came to the forePunam relied on raw power to keep the ball in play, though trailed after getting broken again in game one. The fifth seed, frustrated at the delay in clinching victory against a determined opponent showing dramatic improvement in the Mumbai week, had the final say.

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