Digivijay Pratap Singh overcame a rough start and a fluent opponent to record an improbable 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Niki Poonacha in the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Saturday.
It was Niki who was in roaring form as he raced away with the first set in 36 minutes and broke for 2-0 in the second set. Digvijay had called for the trainer to attend to his injured left leg and his game looked out of sync with his aspirations.
However, after two more hours of struggle, it was Digvijay who was roaring with joy, as Niki had missed all his chances and bowed to the gutsy opponent.
In that second set, Niki had played below par to drop serve in the third game that turned the tide against him. He did break back for 5-5 and had led 40-0, but failed to drive home the advantage. A string of double faults in that set took the sting away from Niki’s game.
Full marks to Digvijay for the way he hung on. He saved five breakpoints to hold serve in his two first service games in the decider. He broke Niki’s serve in the fifth and ninth games for a memorable triumph.
Digvijay had missed three match points in the final against Niki in the National championship last year. This victory should assuage some of that hurt.
In the final, Digvijay who had made the final of the Fenesta National championship once again recently will face fifth seed Florent Bax of France who survived two set points to oust top seed Oliver Crawford of USA 6-3, 7-6(9).
Niki had the consolation of coming back and winning the doubles title with Rithvik Bollipalli. The second seeds beat the third seeds Nitin Kumar Sinha and Vishnu Vardhan 7-6(4), 6-2. It was the fourth title of the season for Rithvik and Niki who had won the title last week in Tunisia.