Vaidehi Chaudhari wins Asian Tour tournament

Vaidehi Chaudhari defeated Prerna Bhambri in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the $3,000 Asian Tour women’s tennis tournament to win her second title on the Asian Tour.

Vaidehi Chaudhari inflicted a rare 6-3, 6-4 defeat on Prerna Bhambri in the final of the $3,000 Asian Tour women’s tennis tournament.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Vaidehi Chaudhari was swift on her feet and sharp with her strokes as she inflicted a rare 6-3, 6-4 defeat on Prerna Bhambri in the final of the $3,000 Asian Tour women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Sunday.

Even though she was not that quick on her feet or that much error free as she would have liked, the 27-year-old Prerna was quite competitive as she made the 19-year-old Vaidehi fight for the points.

It was perhaps a bitter pill to swallow for Prerna who had won four National titles on these courts, and had reached a career-best rank of 358, but there was no denying the fact that Vaidehi was the better player.

Incidentally, it was the second title on the Asian Tour for Vaidehi who had won the last tournament in Pune in May.

The title was worth $450 and the runner-up collected $300. There may not be many tournaments in the Asian circuit, especially with the revival of WTA and ATP points for the entry level tournaments on the ITF circuit, but the event definitely served a good platform for the players to check the quality of their game.

"I was confident of winning the match. I had played and lost easy to Prerna long back. Maybe, I was under-14 then. I was not that good then. I am happy with the quality of my game and the way I handled the match today," said Vaidehi, who was accompanied by coach Eetee Maheta, herself a top-5 player in the Indian women’s circuit before a knee injury cut short her playing career.

A trainee of coach Jignesh Raval who along with Shrimal Bhatt and Alexander Waske of Germany has set up a collaboration of considerable quality in Ahmedabad, Vaidehi is easily one of the bright prospects in Indian women’s tennis, who has rejected all the offers from the US Collegiate circuit for tennis scholarship.

With such support in terms of tennis expertise as much as physical fitness and aspects related to mental toughness, the focus has been on a holistic approach towards player development at Altevol Academy in Gujarat.

In contrast, it was a bonus for Prerna who has not been competing much in the circuit after marriage earlier this year. However, it was very warm support for Prerna, as her brother and coach Prateek Bhambri was accompanied by Prerna’s husband Ayush Tandon and other family members whose cheering brought the best out of her in some tough rallies.

The results (final): Vaidehi Chaudhari bt Prerna Bhambri 6-3, 6-4.