The top players at the tournament were in action on day three of the 2016 HCL Inter-School Tennis Challenge here in Chennai, at the tennis courts inside Sri Ramachandra University. After Day 2 was headlined by the girls, the boys made a reappearance today.
In the Boys U-12, Tharakesh Ashokar from SBOA made it through to the quarterfinals after beating Shiv Chabbria of Sishya 6-2. The top seed in the Boys U-14, Sandeep VM of St. Michaels Academy made light work of Sai Bhairav of Saraswathi School 6-1 to reach the quarters as well.
Sandeep is one of the top draws here at this tournament as he is among the top 5 juniors in India in this age group; he currently carries an AITA rank of 4.
While the boys were busy with their second round matches, the girls were going about playing their quarterfinals. In the girls U-12, three of the seeds made it through to the semis while there was one upset.
Top seed Tentu Shrichandrakala from Sacred Heart beat Samyuktha of Bhavans 7-1 to make it to the final four. She was joined by second seed A Naga Roshne, who bageled Nivethica of PSBB Millenium School 7-0, and third seed Ananya SR of SBOA who beat UJ Sashmitha of DAV 7-2. Fourth seed G Shreya though was upset by Riyah Dugar in a close match that went to a tie-breaker.
In the Girls U-14, top seed Sruthi Pandithurian of Velammal Matric was involved in a superb match with VK Adithi of Sacred Heart, the eighth seed. Sruthi won 7-2, but the match was much closer than the score suggests. Filled with long exchanges, with both players moving each other around the court, Sruthi managed to come out on top on the big points to take the contest.
11th seed Deepa Lakshmi also progressed from her meeting with 10th seed R Sagaya Angelin after the latter retired hurt. Number two seed Kanika Sivaraman of Kendriya Vidyalaya comfortably beat Tentu Shrichandrakala of Sacred Heart 7-1.
However, her sister and third seed Viveha Sivaraman lost out to 5th seed Joshika Premkumar in the other feature match of the day. Viveha struggled on her serve and Joshika managed to get a great groove on her forehand to win the encounter 7-4.
Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academies (MBTA) is the knowledge partner for the HCL Inter-School Tennis Challenge. Shelly Poovaiah has been here the first few days of the tournament, having a close look at the players. He is the Head of Coaching Operations in the South and West.
He is here as a part of MBTA’s efforts to scout and spot talent at these levels. Shelly takes care of MBTA’s Mysore centre where over 45 kids are currently enrolled. He is also keenly involved in the Progressive Tennis program that MBTA is running in schools for kids from classes 1 to 5. The program aims at familiarizing kids with the basics of the game.
The centre also does corporate coaching for the Infosys campuses in Mysore and Pune.
Tomorrow will see the team events starting and the quarterfinals in the boys.
This year’s tournament is being played between February 22nd and 27th with young boys and girls from around 50 schools participating, including prominent ones such as Sishya, Good Shepherd, Padma Seshadri and Kendriya Vidyalaya.
The winners of the Delhi tournament, Suyash Gupta (Boys) and Smriti Singh (Girls) were sent to the SchuttlerWaske Tennis University, Frankfurt, Germany for a one-week, all expense paid training program. The winners of the Chennai tournament will also get an opportunity to go for a similar training program with an international academy.
Girls U14 Singles - Quarter Finals
 Sruthi Pandutharian (Velammal Matric) bt  V K Aditi (Sacred Heart Matriculation School) 7 – 2;  Kanika Sivaraman (Kendriya Vidyala) bt  Tentu Shri Chandrakala (Sacred Heart Matriculation School) 7 – 1; Deepa Lakshmi Vanaraja (SBOA School) bt Sagaya Angelin Shalini (Velammal Matric) Retired;  Joshika Premkumar (Bhavans) bt  Viveha Sivaraman (Kendriya Vidyalaya) 7 - 4
Girls U12 Singles - Quarter Finals
 Ananya (SBOA School) bt U J Sashmitha (DAV School) 7 – 2,  Tentu Shrichandrakala (Sacred Heart Matriculation School) bt Samyuktha (Bhavans) 7 – 1,  Naga Roshne (The Ashram Academy) bt Nivethica (PSBB Millenium School) 7 – 0, Riya Dugar (Sishya) bt  G Shreya (CSI Ewarts) 7 -6 (5)