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Sriram Balaji, Prerna Bhambri win

Sports Reporter

Rishika and Ronit clinch under-14 titles

— Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

WINNERS ALL: Sriram Balaji, Prerna Bhambri, Rishika Sunkara and Ronit Bisht emerged triumphant in their respective categories.

Chennai: Fourth seed Sriram Balaji of Tamil Nadu saved his best for the final match. Having breezed through the first set, he was pushed by second seed Abhijeet Tiwari in the second, which forced him into volleying more and returning better. Sriram beat Tiwari 6-1, 6-4, to win the boys’ under-18 title of the adidas-MCC junior tennis championship at MCC, on Saturday.

Ninth seed Prerna Bhambri of Delhi defeated 14th seed Sonia Dayal 6-2, 6-3, to win the girls’ under-18 title.

Sriram had little to do in the first set. The fourth seed was steady and stuck to a safe baseline gameplan before closing out points with excellent passing. Trailing 0-5, Tiwari, forced to attack, went for too much.

The second seed played much better in the second set. Attacking with less power and more purpose, he gave Sriram little room and time to hit winners consistently. At 4-4 in the second, Sriram raised his game. With three brilliant winners, including a service return on the rise, he broke Tiwari to make it 5-4. A sharp volley that Tiwari failed to control sealed the match for Sriram.

Bhambri’s solid backhand had little trouble dealing with the left-handed Dayal’s cross-court attempts. The ninth seed successfully wore her opponent down during the rallies and forced her into committing unforced errors.

Bhambri’s depth and accuracy helped her win the baseline battle.

Top-seed Rishika Sunkara justified her billing, beating seventh seed Ankita Raina 6-1, 6-0 in the girls’ under-14 final. Second seed Ronit Bisht won the boys’ under-14 final, prevailing over eighth seed Rakshay Thakkar 6-1, 6-2

Tamil Nadu Tennis Association President V. Narayanan and MCC President Premkumar Karra gave away the prizes. The results:

Boys: Under-18: 4-Sriram Balaji (TN) beat 2-Abhijeet Tiwari (Chg) 6-1, 6-4. Doubles: Sriram Balaji & Vijayant Malik bt Sumeet Shinde & Jugal Marfatia 6-3, 3-1 (conceded). Under-14: 2-Ronit Bisht (Del) beat 8-Rakshay Thakkar (Mah) 6-1, 6-2.

Girls: Under-18: 9-Prerna Bhambri (Del) beat 14- Sonia Dayal (Mah) 6-2, 6-3. Under-14: 1-Rishika Sunkara (Del) beat 7-Ankita Raina (Guj) 6-1, 6-0.

Promising Player Awards: Boys: Under-18: Gugan Varma (TN). Under-14: R. Ramkumar (TN). Girls: Under-18: Prachi Nadkarni (Mah). Under-14: Ankita Raina (Guj).

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