Chinese Taipei Challenger: Sriram Balaji clinches doubles title

Sriram Balaji and partner Jonathan Erlich defeat Sander Arends and Tristan-Amuel Weissborn 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

File Photo: This was the sixth Challenger title for Sriram Balaji.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Sriram Balaji, seeded third with Jonathan Erlich of Israel, outplayed fourth seeds Sander Arends and Tristan-Amuel Weissborn 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles final of the USD 162,480 Challenger in Chinese Taipei. The champion team collected 125 ATP points and USD 9,300. The runners-up won 75 points and USD 5,400.

It was the first title of the season for Balaji, who was partnering the former World No. 5 Erlich for the first time. The 42-year-old Erlich had won the Challenger in Australia last year with Divij Sharan. Erlich had won the Australian Open doubles trophy in 2008 with his long-time partner Andy Ram.

“We saw each other during the Bangkok Challenger few weeks ago. Balu sir (Coach M. Balachandran) was travelling with me. He finalised our partnership,” said Balaji, who is scheduled to play three more weeks with Erlich in Korea. “Next two weeks I am playing with (Jamie) Cerretani in China, as Erlich doesn’t want to play on clay,” said Balaji.

It was the sixth Challenger title for Balaji, who had won his other five with Vishnu Vardhan over the last two years.

In the ITF women’s event in Istanbul, top seed Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia proved too strong for Ankita Raina as she sailed to the trophy with a 6-4, 6-0 victory in the final.

The results
  • USD 162,480 Challenger, Chinese Taipei
  • Doubles (final): Jonathan Erlich (Isr) & Sriram Balaji bt Sander Arends (Ned) & Tristan-Samuel Weissborn (Aut) 6-3, 6-2.
  • USD 60,000 ITF women, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Singles (final): Vitalia Diatchenko (Rus) bt Ankita Raina 6-4, 6-0.