Parantap toys with the opposition

In a packed calendar it was tough to find berths for junior events, but Adidas did well to make its Masters event a memorable experience for the players.

KAMESH SRINIVASAN

IT was a tournament that served its purpose as a nice build-up for major events. In a packed calendar it was tough to find berths for junior events, but Adidas did well to make its Masters event a memorable experience for the players.

A scholarship to the tune of Rs. 250,000 apart from prizes in the form of products worth Rs. 50,000 made it a worthwhile experience for the top juniors in the country, especially in the boys' section.

With a women's $10,000 tournament being held around the same time in Pune, it was difficult to get the best junior girls, but overall it was an exciting week of action.

The best junior in the country, Karan Rastogi, was stretched so much in the pre-quarterfinals by N. Kiran Kumar that he had to concede his quarterfinal against the eventual champion Parantap Chaturvedi.

It was a judicious decision by Karan, who has been competing around the world, for it would have been tough to conserve one's energy after locking horns with Parantap, known for his grinding victories.

By beating Rupesh Roy for the loss of two games and dismissing Saurabh Kohli in straight sets in the last two rounds, Parantap once again emphasised his ability to toy with the opposition, thanks mainly to his crafty game.

However, there were many chinks in his game that do not stand scrutiny on the bigger stage, as was the case when Parantap failed to cross the second round in the qualifying event of the Asian junior championship.

In the girls' section, Sandhya Nagaraj and Madura Ranganathan provided a quality fare, hitting nice and deep. Of course, the two would do well to tune their game further to be able to make it to the next level.

Sumit Prakash Gupta captured a double crown, winning the under-14 singles title along with the under-18 doubles title. He is indeed a tough player, and the young lad is quite determined to climb the ladder of international tennis.

The honour in the girls' section went to G. K. Shweta of Karnataka, who beat E. Ashmitha of Tamil Nadu for the loss of three games.

The organisers also tried their best to make it an and educative week for the players, by having Dr. Vece Paes, Sanjay Singh and S. Ganesh give lectures on fitness, training, and the need to have the right equipment.

Though it was a success, there was a general feeling in the hosts that they would be better off focussing on the national junior championships and the ITF junior events, rather than restrict themselves to national ranking events.

The Indian tennis calendar is such that it has scope for everyone trying to do something for the game.

The Managing Director of Adidas India Limited, Tarun Kunzru, gave away the prizes.

The results (finals):

Boys (under-18): Parantap Chaturvedi bt Saurbah Kohli 6-2, 6-3. Doubles: Rupesh Roy and Sumit Prakash Gupta bt N. Kiran Kumar and Vijay Sundar 6-4, 6-4.

Under-14: Sumit Prakash Gupta bt Sanam K. Singh 6-4, 6-1.

Girls (under-18): Sandhya Nagaraj bt Madura Ranganathan 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4. Doubles: K. Pooja and Oormila Ram bt Marutha Devi and Sandri Gangotri 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

Under-14: G. K. Shweta bt. E. Ashmitha 6-2, 6-1.