Siddharth, Mahak emerge champions

Siddharth, Mahak emerge champions

Siddharth Vishwakarma put out a plucky performance and with just a bit of luck stunned top seed Arjun Kadhe to become the men's singles champion of the Fenesta Open national tennis championships at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) on Saturday.

In an engrossing contest, the left-hander from Varanasi pulled off a 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3 victory to dash the hopes of tournament favourite and two-time finalist Kadhe.

The women’s singles title went to 17-year-old Mahak Jain, who outclassed Natasha Palha 6-1, 6-2. It was Mahak’s second successive title.

Vishwakarma, who impressed throughout the week with his bruising groundstrokes and big serves, began on a rousing note. Blasting heavy topspin returns at will, the 23-year-old dictated the opening set, leaving Kadhe to find ways to overcome the slow start.

The Pune boy, indeed, rose up to his billing in the second set. He shifted gears, stepped up his game and made it a set-all by playing smartly in the tie-break. The decider was a gripping affair with both players grabbing opportunities in the bid to nose ahead. It was Vishwakarma who succeeded in inflicting the decisive break in the sixth game.

But with Kadhe hanging in tough, he slumped to a break point in the ninth game while serving for the match. As luck would have it, Kadhe’s racquet strings snapped and Vishwakarma, making the most of the escape, closed the contest with an ace.

“It was a lucky point for me. I didn’t rush when Arjun broke his string,” said Vishwakarma, who had lost the final to Vishnu Vardhan in 2016.

For the Varanasi player, it was a tough week where he suffered pain in shoulder and elbow, but that mattered little as he laid hands on his maiden trophy. “I was cramping a bit in the final set, so I played calculative tennis. The title means a lot to me, I felt confident coming into the final," said Vishwakarma, who couldn’t play much in last eight months owing to health issues.

Earlier, Mahak was rarely challenged by Natasha. Watched by her coach Sajid Lodi, the Indore girl stroked fluently to race to a comfortable victory.

"I had expected a tough final," conceded Mahak, who is now focused on playing on the senior circuit. "I need to get strong physically. They hit the ball very hard on the women's circuit. I am working to get strong," she said.

The men’s and women’s champions were presented Rs 300,000 each and the runners-up Rs 200,000 each. Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh was the chief guest.

In the under-18 section, Siddhant Banthia and Humera Shaik won the title in the boys and girls sections respectively.

Results (all finals): Men’s singles: 6-Siddharth Vishwakarma bt 1-Arjun Kadhe 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3.

Women: 2-Mahak Jain bt Natasha Palha 6-1, 6-2.

Under-18 boys: 1-Siddhant Banthia bt 3-Calvin Golmei 7-6(0), 6-2.

Under-18 girls: 8-Humera Shaik bt Rashmikaa Shrivalli Bhamidipaty 6-2, 6-4.