Second seed Anna Ureke of Russia overcame a fighting Zeel Desai in three hours and 42 minutes for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory in the final of the $15,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Sunday.
It was the second singles title in the professional circuit for the Russian, who had won her last title in Greece in 2018. With sound physical fitness, and a strong athletic build, Anna had the strength in her legs to sustain her game till the end. In contrast, top seed Zeel was in tears as she was cramping in the end, and limped her way through the last few points, drained of all energy.
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Zeel did have the lead in all the three sets, 4-2 in the first, 5-3 in the second and 3-2 in the decider, but was unable to press hard when required, with any degree of consistency. The Russian kept acalculated defensive approach and thrived in the slow conditions initially.
However, once the clay courts dried up in bright sunshine and played relatively fast, Zeel was able to dictate terms with her strong strokes. Zeel was troubled by her serve and had 14 double faults in the match, as compared to three by the Russian.
It was quite brave of Zeel that she saved as many 18 of the 27 break points that she faced in the match. She converted eight of 16 break points that she forced.
The lack of breeze did make it hard for Zeel to be at her competitive best for long as the match meandered to a long haul.
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The champion collected $2,352 and 10 WTA points. The runner-up was presented $1,470 and six points.
Both the players thanked the organisers for holding an event in such a fine setting in difficult times.
The circuit will continue with the next three events over the next three weeks in Gurugram, Ahmedabad and Nagpur.