Pune, January 17: Third seed S. Manish of Tamil Nadu kept his winning momentum to reach the final of boys U-21 tennis singles at the Khelo India Youth Games with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nitin Sinha of West Bengal. He will now face the unseeded Dhruv Sunish of Maharashtra, who upset fourth seed Paramveer Bajwa of Chandigarh in the other semi-final.
Having lost the ITF Sri Lanka Futures semi-final in June last year to Manish, the unseeded Sinha walked on to Centre Court determined to change the outcome here. But the ruthless Manish, who had conceded only two games en route to the semi-final had his own plans. Manish came off the blocks quickly, leaving Sinha reeling as he conceded only two points on the way to a 2-1 lead. Manish hardly gave Sinha time to regroup from the early onslaught to wrap up the first set 6-3.
In the second, Manish changed from a baseline approach and began to attack the net. In just 32 minutes, Manish brushed aside Sinha 6-2 in the second set to reach the finals.
Afterwards, Manish said, "I've played Sinha several times before and I've lost to him only once. The fact that I beat him last year in Sri Lanka gave me an edge."
In the other semi-final, Dhruv ousted Bajwa 6-4, 6-2. After the two had swapped breaks, scores went with serve till the 10th game when Dhruv broke Bajwa a second time and then served out for the set. The second was one-way traffic, with the Maharashtra boy wrapping it up in less than 30 minutes to reach the final.
After the match, Dhruv said, "Bajwa was seeded here, but I know his game very well as both of us practice together at the Solaris Club here. It will be a matter of great pride to play the final of KIYG in front of a home crowd. Whatever the outcome, I'll give it my best. Manish is playing really good not only in India but also abroad. It will be a good contest.”
In the U-17 girls singles semi-finals, Prerna Vichare of Maharashtra who trains at Khar Gymkhana overcame Lakshmi Reddy of Andhra Pradesh 7-5, 6-4 and will play Priyanshi Bhandari of Gujarat for the gold medal. The Gujarat girl beat top seed Gargi Pawar of Maharashtra 6-2, 6-2.
"I was 5-2 up in the first set but then pressure started building. I lost focus and my serve was broken twice. But then I just held my nerve and focused on every point and didn't bother about the score." said Prerna after the victory.
In the girls U-21 doubles semi-finals, Telangana’s Rashmika Bhamdipaty and Humera Shaik reached final without conceding a game against Tamil Nadu’s K. Balasubramanian and Sai Avanti Revevanur. They face Gujarat’s Zeel Desai and Vaidehi Chaudhari who defeated Sai Dedeepya and Aditi Aree of Telangana 6-0, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
Two bronze medals for Gujarat
In the girls U-21 singles bronze medal match, Zeel Desai got a walkover from Kaavya Sawhney of Uttar Pradesh, while Krish Patel (Gujarat) beat top seed Sushant Dabas of Haryana 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in the boys U-17 third-place playoff.
Girls U-17 singles semi-finals: Priyanshi Bhandari(Guj) bt Gargi Pawar (Mah) 6-2, 6-2; Prerna Vichare (Mah) bt Lakshmi Reddy (AP) 7-5, 6-4.
Boys U-21 singles semi-finals: Suresh Kumar Manish (TN) bt Nitin Sinha (WB) 6-3, 6-2; Dhruv Sunish (Mah) bt Paramveer Bajwa (Chd) 6-4, 6-2.
Girls U-21 doubles semi-finals: R. Bhamidipaty/Humera Shaik (Tel) bt K. Balasubramanian/ Sai Avanti Revevanur (TN) 6-0, 6-0; V. Chaudhari/Zeel Desai (Guj) bt Sai Dedeepya/Aditi Aree (Tel) 6-0, 6-2.
Boys U-17 doubles semi-finals: Krish Patel/ Dev Javia(Guj) bt Aman Dhaiya/ Udit Gogoi (Har) 6-3, 2-6, 10-3 (super tie-break); Sushant Dabas/ D Gahlot (Har) bt Ajay Malik/ Nitin J. Singh (HR) 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 (Super Tie-break)
Girls U-21 singles bronze medal: Zeel Desai (Guj) WO Kavvya Sawhney (UP)
Girls U-17 doubles bronze medal: S. Sirimalla/S. Damera (Tel) bt Ishita Singh/Sanya Singh (Har) 7-5, 6-2
Boys U-21 doubles bronze medal: M. Suresh Kumar/Abhinav Sanjeev (TN) bt Fardeen Qamar/Faisal Qamar (Raj) 6-3, 7-5
Boys U-17 Singles bronze medal: Krish Patel (Guj) bt Sushant Dabas (Har) 6-3, 1-6, 7-5