Junior Davis Cup: India makes it to World Group

Siddhant Banthia and Adil Kalyanpur steered the team home with identical 6-2, 6-4 wins over Australians Thomas James Bosancic and Alexander Crnokrak respectively. India finished third in the Asia Oceania u-16 tournament and secured a spot in the World Group after five years.

Siddhant J. Banthia scored a 6-2, 6-4 win over Thomas James Bosancic in New Delhi on Saturday. ( File photo)   -  The Hindu

The Indian boys qualified in style for the World Group, albeit with a third place, as they outplayed Australia 2-0 in the Asia Oceania Junior Davis Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Saturday.

Having stretched both the top two seeds Japan and China, which made the final, the Indian team had the conviction in its ability to subdue the Aussies who had the big game but were unable to maintain any degree of consistency.

Yet, the victory had to be executed and both Siddhant Banthia and Adil Kalyanpur played very well to steer the team home with identical 6-2, 6-4 wins over Thomas James Bosancic and Alexander Crnokrak respectively.

The captain of the team, Vishaal Uppal had guided the team smartly and took the whole team into the swimming pool for a celebratory plunge, after achieving the task of qualification. The joy of the team was complete when the president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, announced a cash award of five lakh rupees to the squad.

India had started the tournament as the fifth seed and had the top seed Japan in its group. Indians played top quality tennis, especially in the decisive doubles, in beating third seed Korea in the quarterfinals, before being pipped at the post in the semifinals by China, the eventual champion.

It was a complete team effort as Megh Patel provided the much needed thrust to the team in the doubles which helped India fight hard till the end when either Siddhant Banthia or Adil Kalyanpur faltered in the singles.

China was a class act against Japan, even though the best singles player among the 16 teams, the 68th ranked Zhao Lingxi was teased in a three setter by Naoki Tajima in the second singles of the final.

Earlier, Mu Tao had cruised past Rimpei Kawakami for the loss of four games. Except for pride of place, the results did not matter to a great extent, as the purpose of the teams was to be among the three teams that qualify for the World Group competition to be staged in Europe on clay in August.

The results (final): China bt Japan 2-0 (Mu Tao bt Rimpei Kawakami 6-3, 6-1; Zhao Lingxi bt Naoki Tajima 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5).

Third place: India bt Australia 2-0 (Siddhant Banthia bt Thomas James Bosancic 6-2, 6-4; Adil Kalyanpur bt Alexander Crnokrak 6-2, 6-4).

Final placings: 1. China, 2. Japan, 3. India, 4. Australia, 5. New Zealand;

6. Korea, 7. Chinese Taipei, 8. Malaysia, 9. Indonesia, 10. Syria;

11. Hong Kong, 12. Uzbekistan, 13. Thailand, 14. Kazakhstan, 15. Philippines, 16. Vietnam.