French Open junior wild card tournament: Mann sets up final date with Kabir

Humera Shaikh to take on Sarah Dev in the girls’ title clash.

Mann Maulik Shah, who reached the final of the French Open junior wild card tennis event, in New Delhi on Tuesday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Top seed Mann Maulik Shah strengthened his claim for the title with a strong performance against Kabir Hans, as he made the final with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the French Open junior wild card tennis tournament on the clay courts of the DLTA Complex here on Tuesday.

The tall and strongly built Mann, brought off exquisite backhand winners and handled the wobbly forehand with increasing efficiency to beat a quality player. Kabir had the game, but lacked the intensity to stretch the contest.

In the final, Mann will play friend and fellow trainee from Ahmedabad, Madhwin Kamath, who was a class act in exasperating second seed Dev Javia.

Madhwin moved well and played a flawless game to gain the upper hand.

Lacking energy

Dev was busy competing in the international junior circuit in recent weeks and thus lacked the physical and mental energy to sustain his challenge.

Dev also was running short of racquets and once he broke one in frustration early in the second set, he just walked to the net to shake hands with the opponent.

In the girls’ section also, top seed Salsa Aher opted to retire after losing the first set against the free-stroking Humera Shaikh.

Salsa withdrew with a shoulder injury, just as Humera was finding the rhythm for her explosive strokes even on a slow surface.

In the final, Humera will be challenged by Sarah Dev.

Sarah was quite composed in getting past Bhakti Shah. While Sarah was crafty with her strokes, Bhakti erred in trying to generate pace without matching efficiency with intent in terms of her foot work.

The champions will compete with similar champions from China and Brazil in Paris for a junior wild card for the French Open.

The results (semifinals)

Boys: Mann Maulik Shah bt Kabir Hans 6-3, 6-2; Madhwin Kamath bt Dev Javia 6-4, 2-1 (conceded).

Girls: Humera Shaikh bt Salsa Aher 6-1 (retired); Sarah Dev bt Bhakti Shah 6-3, 6-4.

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