National grass court C'ship to begin from Monday

Among the women, it could be one of the top three seeds Riya Bhatia, Sai Samhitha and Nidhi Chilumula taking the trophy. In the men’s section, V.M. Ranjeet can do it once more if he adjusts to the grass quickly and play his best tennis. For the host, top seed Dalwinder Singh could be the best bet.

Riya has had a good season winning the national title as well as the singles title in the ITF women’s circuit.   -  Arun Kulkarni

If the national title is a big boost to a sporting career, it will be available on a heavy discount this week in tennis. It will be a great opportunity for anyone aspiring to be the champion when the National grass court tennis championship starts at the Chandigarh Club here on Monday.

Only three players who have won the national title, Riya Bhatia, V.M Ranjeet and Vijay Kannan, figure in the women’s and men’s draws, which are both depleted mainly owing to the small prize purse. With the leading players focusing on the international circuit and foregoing a relatively more attractive tournament like the Fenesta National hard court championship that offers Rs.10 lakh for the men’s and women’s singles winners and runners-up alone, it is not a surprise that a total prize packet of Rs.500,000 has not been able to attract many good players.

Yet, it is encouraging that the national federation and some organisers, like the ones in Kolkata in the past, have been able to keep the grass court event alive. There could have been a few more good players, at least in the men’s section, but there seems to be an interesting tournament brewing in Mumbai over the last four days of the week that is expected to feature some of the Davis Cuppers and other regulars on the circuit like Mohit Mayur, Nitten Kirrtane, Jayesh Pungliya etc.

Among the women, it could be one of the top three seeds Riya Bhatia, Sai Samhitha and Nidhi Chilumula taking the trophy. All three have considerable international exposure which should help them play a notch above the rest. Riya has had a good season winning the national title as well as the singles title in the ITF women’s circuit.

In the men’s section, V.M. Ranjeet can do it once more if he adjusts to the grass quickly and gets to play his best tennis. For the host, top seed Dalwinder Singh could be the best bet, as he has the big game. More than their game, it will be the ability of the players to adapt to the conditions and stay calm in tough situations that could dictate their progress.



The results:

Men (second and final qualifying round): Jatin Dhaiya bt Mandeep Kumar 6-2, 6-1; Shahbaaz Khan bt Nihit Rawal 6-1, 6-3; Yuvraj Singh bt Vimal Raj Jayachandran 6-4, 7-5; Archit Jain bt Yugank Bhardwaj 7-6(4), 6-4; Mohit Bhardwaj bt Pradeep Deswal 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4); Eklavya Singh bt Abhinav Mahajan 6-2, 6-2; Ranjeet Singh bt Konwar Gupta 5-7, 7-5, 6-3; Ajay Pruthvi bt Sultan Singh Atwal 6-3, 6-3.

The seedings:

Men: 1. Dalwinder Singh, 2. VM Ranjeet, 3. Suraj Prabodh, 4. Vijay Kannan, 5. Faisal Qamar, 6. Irfan Hussian, 7. Siddarth Ponnala, 8.Abhimansu Borthakur.

Women: 1. Riya Bhatia, 2. Sai Samhitha, 3. Nidhi Chilumula, 4. Samriti Punyani, 5. Neeru Rapria, 6. Himani Mor, 7. Arthi Muniyan, 8. Yubrani Banerjee.