National championship: Riya Bhatia pips Sharrmadaa Baluu

Riya Bhatia survived a marathon match that lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes to beat Sharrmadaa Baluu 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) in the women’s semifinals of the Fenesta National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

Riya Bhatia survived a marathon match that lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes to beat Sharrmadaa Baluu 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5).   -  Arun Kulkarni

Riya Bhatia survived a marathon match that lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes to beat Sharrmadaa Baluu 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) in the women’s semifinals of the Fenesta National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

The 19-year-old Delhi girl who had recently won a singles title in the ITF women’s circuit in Egypt, Riya fought hard, quite annoyed with her erratic game many a time, before pulling it off against the better game of Sharrmadaa.

The 23-year-old Sharrmadaa who has a 2-2 win-loss record against Riya in the professional circuit, and had beaten her in Egypt easily this season, had the chances to serve out the match but was caught by a bout of nerves in the climax.

It was Sharrmadaa who started well taking a 3-0 lead in the first set, before Riya raced through with six games. In the second set, Sharrmadaa almost blew it away after taking a 5-1 lead. In the decider, Sharrmadaa had recovered from 2-4 to lead 5-4,and had another chance to serve it out at 6-5. She led 5-3 in the tie-break, before Riya kept her cool in the climax to reel off four points in a row, stroking with power and confidence.

In the final, Riya will be challenged by sixth seed Eetee Maheta who kept her poise against the fiery strokes of former Asian junior champion Pranjala Yadlapalli, in recording a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

In the women’s doubles final, Eetee in partnership with Shweta Rana saved three matchpoints in the super tie-break before being beaten 4-6, 6-1, 10-7 by second seeds Rishika Sunkara and Sowjanya Bavisetti.

In the men’s section, former champion Vishnu Vardhan, quite the player to beat this season, served eight aces in powering his way past Kunal Anand for the loss of four games.

In the final, Vishnu will play the wiry Siddharth Vishwakarma who celebrated his 22nd birthday by easing past Haadin Bava for the loss of six games.

There will be a lot at stake as the champions in the the men’s and women’s section will get Rs.300,000 each and the runners-up Rs.200,000.

In the junior boys event, Nitin Kumar Sinha overwhelmed the tall Suresh Dhakshineswar, conceding a mere two games. He will play Dhruv Sunish who served with considerable intensity and accuracy to beat the talented Paramveer Singh Bajwa in straight sets.

Nitin put himself in line for a double by winning the doubles title in partnership with BR NIkshep, as the duo tamed the fighting combination of Paramveer Singh Bajwa and Param Pun.

In the girls event, Akanksha Bhan outplayed Lalita Devarakonda for the loss of three games, to set up a title clash against Humera Shaik. The tall Humera was pushed to her wit’s end by Sai Dedeepya who led 6-4, 3-2, beofre she broke through the defensive tactics with her forceful game, on the centre court.

The girls doubles title was bagged by Shivani Sravya and Tanisha Kashyap as they subdued Sabhyata Nihalani and Yubarani Banerjee.



The results:



Men (semifinals): Vishnu Vardhan bt Kunal Anand 6-3, 6-1; Siddharth Vishwakarma bt Haadin Bava 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles (final): Kunal Anand & Anvit Bendra bt Paramveer Singh Bajwa & Param Pun 7-5, 6-4.

Women (semifinals): Eetee Maheta bt Pranjala Yadlapalli 6-4, 6-3; Riya Bhatia bt Sharrmadaa Baluu 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5).

Doubles (final): Rishika Sunkara & Sowjanya Bavisetti bt Eetee Maheta & Shweta Rana 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.

Under-18 boys (semifinals): Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Suresh Dhakshineswar 6-2, 6-0; Dhruv Sunish bt Paramveer Singh Bajwa 6-4, 6-4.

Doubles (final): BR Nikshep & Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Dhruv Sunish & Ishaque Eqbal 6-4, 6-3.

Under-18 girls (semifinals): Akanksha Bhan bt Lalita Devarakonda 6-2, 6-1; Humera Shaik bt Sai Dedeepya 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Doubles (final): Shivani Sravya & Tanisha Kashyap bt Sabhyata NIhalani & Yubarani Banerjee 6-1, 7-6(5).