Kellner makes amends

Nine out of ten courts in Hungary are clay, so it is natural that I found it easy to play here. - Adam Kellner-S. PATRONOBISH

The 22-year-old Hungarian was very much at home on the clay courts of the Jaidip Mukerjea Tennis Academy, as he lifted his second ITF title of his career. Amitabha Das Sharma reports.

The European domination on the clay courts of the Jaidip Mukerjea Tennis Academy in Kolkata continued as Adam Kellner of Hungary upstaged the top seed, Benjamin Balleret of Monaco, to lift the Oil India-sponsored $15000 ITF men’s Futures crown. Last season, Alexander Satschko of Germany had won back-to-back titles at the same venue.

“Nine out of ten courts in Hungary are clay, so it is natural that I found it easy to play here,” said Kellner who won the second ITF title of his career.

The victory was a cause of major celebration for Kellner, ranked No. 2 in his country. “Professional tennis is still to mature in our country. We have a good club league but we do not have many players playing at the international level,” said the 22-year-old Hungarian.

The previous week, Kellner narrowly missed winning the ITF Futures title in Chandigarh where the tournament was played on hard courts. He lost the final against Yong-Kyu Lim of Korea.

In the final in Kolkata, Kellner was in great form. He simply blew away the defences of Balleret, winning 6-2, 6-2 in just 55 minutes in a lopsided contest. The Hungarian set the tone of the contest by breaking Balleret in the very first game. He went on the offensive right from the start. And with a strong baseline game and accurate serves Kellner unsettled Balleret’s rhythm.

Kellner broke Balleret’s serve again in the fifth game to move 4-1 up before closing out the first set. Kellner continued to play with the same intensity in the second set too. He broke Balleret in the third and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead before serving out for the set and the match.

The semifinals too were one-sided with Balleret knocking back the challenge of fourth-seeded Patrick Taubert of Germany and Kellner pounding third-seeded Hsin-Han Lee of Chinese Taipei, both matches ended in straight sets.

The Indian challenge in the tournament ended with eighth-seeded Vishnu Vardhan and unseeded Vivek Shokeen crashing out in the quarterfinals. Vardhan crashed out to Taubert without putting up much resistance, while Shokeen squandered early advantages to surrendering to Hsin-Han Lee.

The Chinese Taipei pair of I-Ta Chen and Hsin-Han Lee won the doubles title, defeating Benjamin Balleret and India’s Rohan Gajjar in straight sets.

THE RESULTS (Prefix denotes seeding) Men’s singles final

2-Adam Kellner (Hungary) bt 1-Benjamin Balleret (Monaco) 6-2, 6-2.

Semifinals

Benjamin Balleret bt 4-Patrick Taubert (Germany) 6-1, 6-2; Adam Kellner bt 3-Hsin-Han Lee (Chinese Taipei) 6-1, 6-1.

Men’s doubles FINAL

3-I-Ta Chen & Hsin-Han Lee (Chinese Taipei) bt 1-Benjamin Balleret (Monaco) & Rohan Gajjar (India) 6-4, 6-4.