| SANIA: Consistent game
ASIAN JUNIOR TENNIS
New Delhi: India’s Isha Lakhani and Sania Mirza, the top two seeds, respectively, in the women’s section, registered contrasting victories to move into the second round of the GAIL Asian junior tennis championships at the DLTA Courts on Monday.
Isha, who won the national hard court women’s title at the same venue in October, had to fight off rusty form before defeating Mulsap Porntip of Thailand 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Sania, on the other hand, dropped serve thrice in the first set but played consistent tennis to beat another Thai, Thassha Vityaviroj, 7-5, 6-1.
Varanya Vijuksanaboon also of Thailand, lost to India’s Ankita Bhambri, who bulldozed her way to a 6-1, 6-3 win.
In the men’s section, former national junior champion Somdev Dev Verman needed an hour and 30 minutes to see off Nihal Advani 6-4, 6-2, while Amanjot Singh beat qualifier Chatwinder Singh 6-1, 6-4 to romp into the second round.
Men’s top seed Wang Cheng Hseih of Chinese Taipei had an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory over lucky loser Jitin Bishnoi and wildcarder Rupesh Roy put paid to the hopes fellow-wildcarder Siddharth Ghulati 6-1, 7-5.
When Porntip began with a double fault and dropped her first serve, it seemed as if it was going to be just another day in the office for Isha. But the Indian complicated things as she struggled to get her own game together.
Isha allowed the Thai back into the match by dropping serve in the 12th game to push the first set into a tie-break. To Isha’s advantage, Porntip never really capitalised on her opponent’s mistakes.
With a weak backhand, Porntip was never able to make a match of it as Isha showed more application in the second set and wrapped it up in quick time.
Sania, on the other hand, was in full control of the match as she worked her opponent around the court. More importantly, she sustained her momentum throughout the match.
There were occasions when she committed a couple of errors on crucial points, like the double fault in the seventh game of the first set to drop serve, reviving memories of her tendency to lose matches from winning positions.
But the 16-year old did not allow those moments to bother her and played with confidence arising from winning three ITF titles and the mixed doubles bronze at the Asian Games this year.
Ankita, playing here on a wildcard, dominated her Thai opponent from the start. Varanya was stylish in her groundstrokes on both sides, but it counted for nothing against the explosive Indian girl.