Vignesh and Dhruthi make it a grand double

Young champions... Dhruthi Venugopal and Vignesh Prabhu.-G. KRISHNASWAMY

The two spirited youngsters, playing in their maiden Asian-level event, made optimum use of the platform to showcase their talent. By V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Vignesh Prabhu and Dhruthi Venugopal, who? Well, this could have been the query even in tennis circles till the other day. But not after they clinched a ‘double’ each in the AMR-Asian Junior (under-14) Championship — the only such event for this age group in India — in Hyderabad recently.

That these two spirited youngsters, playing in their maiden Asian-level event, made optimum use of the platform to showcase their talent was remarkable indeed.

For Vignesh, a student of St. Bede’s Anglo Indian High School in Chennai, it was an event to remember. It should help him go a long way in his career.

Vignesh gave ample hints of his prowess — complementing his height and build were his big serves and fine passing shots. These were the qualities that helped him clinch a thriller — 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (9-7) — against a fighting Sumit Nagpal in the singles final. That he kept his cool despite Sumit staving off seven match-points was an indication that Vignesh had big-match temperament.

Even the fact that Sumit had arguments with the umpire over close line-calls didn’t affect Vignesh. “It was very tense in the tie-breaker. I had my eyes shut when Sumit was serving in the final stages of the game. And I could not believe that he came up with a double-fault that signalled the end of his campaign,” said Vignesh after the match.

Earlier Vignesh, coached by Hiten Joshi of the Tamil Nadu State Tennis Association, combined with Sahil Deshmukh to capture the doubles title.

For Dhruthi Venugopal, a student of Ideal Jawa Rotary High School in Mysore, too it was a memorable tournament as she won both the singles and doubles titles.

That she meant business in the singles final against her doubles partner Snehadevi S. Reddy was proof of her commitment and passion for the game. Dhruthi beat Snehadevi 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 for the title.

Dhruthi played the big points well. Down by a set, she came back strongly in the next two with better ground-strokes and deep returns.

Strangely, Snehadevi, who had shocked fifth-seeded Roma Chandran 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, struggled when it mattered the most in the final.

In fact, the route to the final was made easy for Dhruthi after qualifier Sheikh Amreen knocked out top-seeded Shambhavi Dixit 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) and unseeded Rahmitha Reddy surprised fourth-seeded Ching Chan Tsz (Hong Kong) 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the first round.

THE RESULTS

Girls (under-14) singles final: Dhruthi Venugopal bt Snehadevi S. Reddy 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Doubles final: Dhruthi Venugopal & Snehadevi S. Reddy bt Ching Chan Tsz & Maggie Ngmanying (Hong Kong) 6-2, 6-4.

Boys (under-14) singles final: P. Vignesh Prabhu bt Nagpal Sumit 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (9-7).

Doubles final: P. Vignesh Prabhu & Sahil Deshmukh bt Ming Gang Li & Cheun Tik Chun (Hong Kong) 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).