AITA SS Anantapur 2016 impresses despite the searing summer heat

Yet another tennis tournament came to a close at Anantapur Sports Academy’s (ASA) Nadal Education and Tennis School (NETS) last week. Only the second tennis tournament so far this year came with an amazing amount of talent and athleticism. The impressive show put on by U16 youngsters was heartening.

The biggest tournament held at NETS so far, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) Super Series (SS) held between 9th and 15th of April, 2016 brought as many as 73 participants to Anantapur along with three home girls from NETS for the singles competition. The competition also saw 17 Doubles entries.

13th ranked Sacchit Sharma from Delhi and 28th ranked Pratibha Narayan Prasad from Bangalore entered the tournament as favourites in their respective boys and girls categories. These U16 tennis players are among the best in the country and they brought a high degree of competitiveness to the tournament. The SS saw a total of 62 singles matches and another 18 doubles matches.

The tournament demanded a lot of nerve from each and every player who came down to Anantapur. Few participants were completely alien to the clay courts at NETS while the remaining acquainted to the surroundings from their previous visits to ASA’s NETS during the AITA CS7 in July last year and the AITA TS in January this year.

The doubles finals for the boys was wrapped up by Sacchit Sharma and Rithvik Chowdhary who kept their singles rivalry aside, teamed up and made their way to the top eventually beating Siddhant Bhavnani and Tejasvi Mehra in straight sets with the scoreline reading 6-0, 6-2. The girls’ doubles saw singles finalists pitted against each other yet again, as Bhakti Shah teamed up with K. S. Shimran, while Pratibha Prasad teamed up with her twin Pragati. The Prasad twins tasting defeat at the hands of Shimran and Shah losing out in straight sets, with scoreline of 6-1, 6-3.

The tournament title fight for the boys went down as expected with Sacchit Sharma making his way through the pack eventually beating Rithvik Chowdhary in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 to claim the title. However the girls’ result surprised most as top ranked Pratibha Prasad lost in the singles semi-finals to Shajiha Begum who later went on to beat Bhakti Shah, coming back after being a set down to seal the singles finals at 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.

Talking about his girls during the tournament, we heard NETS coordinator and Head Coach Xisco Mercadal Pons said “These athletes are very well poised. They are tactically and psychologically very sound. Most of our athletes lack this, as also the playing experience, which is why we take these tournaments as a learning experience and expect little from them in terms of their performance. If they perform well, it comes as a bonus and an encouragement, however we need to work more on these aspects of their game to give them a better chance in the sport”

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