Khelo India Youth Games: Mahak Jain wins title in style

Mahak Jain won the women’s under-21 title in the Khelo India Youth Games at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on Friday.

Mahak Jain with her parents Vijay and Rashmi in Pune on Friday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Mahak Jain reiterated her claim as one of India’s best tennis player by winning the women’s under-21 title in the Khelo India Youth Games at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Friday.

Sporting the composure of a monk, the 17-year-old Mahak bounced back from being down 0-3 and 15-40 in the first set to beat former Asian junior champion Mihika Yadav 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Troubled only by noisy children in the stands, Mahak served accurately and stroked with conviction to make the contest one-sided.

“I didn’t start so well, but got my rhythm and played better. The children were disturbing, as they were talking all the time,” said Mahak, who repeatedly requested the umpire to calm them down.

The umpire Leena Nageshkar took the mike at one stage to make the request in Marathi, which worked like magic, as the stands fell silent.

“It feels great to win this tournament. I look forward to other tournaments,” said Mahak, who may get a wild card entry in the $25,000 ITF women’s tournament in Jodhpur, scheduled a week later, before the Fed Cup in Kazakhstan, early in February.

Mahak had tamed arch rival from the junior days, Zeel Desai in the semifinals on Wednesday, which triggered a lively debate between the parents Vijay and Rashmi, about whose gift was it, on their marriage anniversary!

In the men’s under-21 doubles final, Armaan Bhatia and Dhruv Sunish played an energetic and entertaining game to tame Ishaque Eqbal and Nitin Kumar Sinha 10-6 in the super tie-break.

The gold medal won for Maharashtra, could serve as the right tonic for Dhruv before his singles final against Manish Sureshkumar on Saturday.

In the men’s under-17 final, Dev Javia saved a bunch of set points after being down 3-5 to beat Aryaan Bhatia 7-5, 6-3. Interestingly, while he was serving to strike parity at 4-5 in the first set, Dev’s racquet flew off his hands along with the serve, but the serve was right and Armaan returned wide on game point.

The results: Men: Under-21: Third place: Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Paramveer Singh Bajwa 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: Final: Armaan Bhatia & Dhruv Sunish bt Ishaque Eqbal & Nitin Kumar Sinha 2-6, 6-3, [10-6].

Under-17: Final: Dev Javia bt Aryaan Bhatia 7-5, 6-3.

Doubles: Third place: Ajay Malik & Nitin Singh bt Aman Dahiya & Udit Gogoi 6-3, 3-6, [10-7].

Women: Under-21: Final: Mahak Jain bt Mihika Yadav 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles: Third place: Kaavya Balasubramanian & Sai Avanthika bt Sai Dedeepya & Aditi Are 6-0, 3-6, [10-7].

Under-17: Third place: Gargi Pawar bt Lakshmi Reddy 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles: Final: Prerna Vichare & Gargi Pawar bt Sai Bhoyar & Hrudaya Shah 6-1, 6-1.