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Another event in Kerala for the Indian players to step it up

The ITF men’s Futures caravan moves to the clay courts of Thiruvananthapuram this week, offering yet another opportunity for the Indian players to improve their status on the ATP computer.

With Prajnesh Gunneswaran having left for a Challenger in China, after having won the last event in Chandigarh, the onus will be on Arjun Kadhe, Vijay Sundar Prashanth, Karunuday Singh and Aryan Goveas to sustain the Indian challenge as far as they physically manage.

With one of the qualifying matches, in which Sivadeep Kosaraju leads 6-3, 5-5 against seventh seed Linh Giang Trinh of Vietnam, yet to be finished, the qualifers have not been placed in the main draw.

However, in the main draw, Asian junior champion NItin Kumar Sinha, Arjun Kadhe, Jayesh Pungliya, Yu Hisnag Chiu of Chinese Taipei, Aryan Goveas, GS Sanjay, Thales Turin of Brazil and Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam will all get qualifiers in the first round.

In doubles, the champions of two events this season, Arjun Kadhe and Vijay Sundar Prashanth have been seeded second, behind the Brazilians Caio Silva and Thales Turini.

The seedings: 1. Carlos Boluda-Purkiss (Esp), 2. Nam Hoang Ly (Vie), 3. Arjun Kadhe, 4. Vijay Sundar Prashanth, 5. Sam Reinwein (Ger), 6. Karunuday Singh, 7. Manuel Pena Lopez (Arg) , 8. Aryan Goveas.

The results:

Qualifying singles (second and final round): Suraj Prabodh bt Jarry Woog (US) 6-2, 6-4; Kunal Anand bt Dhruv Sunish 6-1, 3-6, 6-1; Stanislav Poplavskyy (Ukr) bt Anvit Bendre 7-5, 7-6(0); SD Prajwal Dev bt Arpit Sharma 6-0, 6-1; Olly Sadler (Nzl) bt Tejas Chaukulkar 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5); Anirudh Chandrasekar bt Rishi Reddy 6-2, 6-4; Vasisht Cheruku bt Niki Poonacha 6-1, 6-2.

First round: Suraj Prabodh bt Tarun Anirudh Chilakalapudi 6-1, 7-5; Jarry Woog bt Ansu Bhuyan 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Kunal Anand bt Kunal Vazirani 6-3, 6-4; Dhruv Sunish bt Ajay Pruthvi Nemakal 6-2, 6-2; Stanislav Poplavskyy bt Amarnath Arora 6-4, 6-4; Anvit Bendre bt Gokul Suresh 6-3, 7-5; SD Prajwal Dev bt BR NIkshep 6-4, 6-2; Arpit Sharma bt Suresh Dhakshineswar 6-4, 6-4; Tejas Chaukulkar bt Hardeep Singh Sandhu 6-2, 6-2; Olly Sadler bt Nithin Mohanan 6-2, 6-2; Anirudh Chandrasekar bt Sidhan Naieem Mohammed 6-1, 6-1; Rishi Reddy bt Lawrence Bataljin (Aus) 6-3, 5-4 (retired); Linh Giang Trinh (Vie) bt Gautham Krishnan Ramesh 6-4, 6-3; Sivadeep Kosaraju bt Alex Solanki 6-4, 7-6(4); Niki Poonacha bt Ramakrishnan Rangaraju 6-2, 6-2; Vasisht Cheruku bt Mohit Bhardwaj 6-1, 6-2.


Sanjana Sirimalla and Renne Singla qualify for UK under-14 championship in Wimbledon

Sanjana Sirimalla beat Renne Singla 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final of the Road to Wimbledon girls tournament in Kolkata.

Both the players, who emerged triumphant from a field of the top-16 players in the country, qualified for the UK under-14 championship to be staged on the grass courts of Wimbledon in August.

Unlike the previous years that featured a few legs before the Masters event for the top-16 from the circuit, it was a simple format this time, possibly owing to a budget cut.

The players competed on a league format and the top two from each group made it to the knock-out stage that started with the quarterfinals.

Sanjana, who is coached by coach Sanjay Kumar at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) courts in Hyderabad, stayed undefeated through the tournament. She dropped one set to Renee Singh in the semifinals.

Renne Singla who trains with coach Vinod Kumar at the Panchshila Club in Delhi was equally impressive till she lost a close battle against the taller and stronger Sanjana in the final.

The boys event will be held in Delhi next week, with Udit Gogoi and Aman Dahiya as the top two seeds.

The results (final): Sanjana Sirimalla bt Renne Singla 7-6(4), 6-4; Semifinals: Sanjana Sirimalla bt Renee Singh 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; Renne Singla bt Vaishnavi Adkar 6-1, 6-0; Quarterfinals: Sanjana Sirimalla bt Kristi Boro 6-4, 6-1; Renee Singh bt Naisha Srivastav 7-6(5), 6-4; Renne Singla bt Bhumika Tripathi 6-4, 6-2; Vaishnavi Adkar bt Sweta Samanta 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.


Pool-A: Sanjana Sirimalla bt Sai Bhoyar 6-0, 6-0; Sanjana Sirimalla bt Bhumika Tripathi 6-0, 6-3; Sanjana Sirimalla bt Ishita Jadhav 6-1, 6-0; Bhumika Tripathi bt Sai Bhoyar 6-1, 6-2; Bhumika Tripathi bt Ishita Jadhav 6-1, 6-2; Ishita Jadhav bt Sai Bhoyar 7-5, 6-0.

Pool-B: Vaishnavi Adkar bt Naisha Srivastav 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; Vaishnavi Adkar bt Anjali Rathi 6-1, 6-4; Vaishnavi Adkar bt Poorvi Bhatt 6-3, 6-0; Naisha Srivastav bt Anjali Rathi 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-5; Naisha Srivastav bt Poorvi Bhatt 6-3, 6-2; Anjali Rathi w.o. Poorvi Bhatt.

Pool-C: Renne Singla bt Kristi Boro 6-4, 6-4; Renne Singla bt Ria Washimkar 6-0, 6-1; Renne Singla bt Sanvi Ahluwalia 6-2, 6-1; Kristi Boro bt Ria Washimkar 7-5, 6-2; Sanvi Ahluwalia bt Ria Washimkar 6-1, 6-2.

Pool-D: Renee Singh bt Yana Dhamija 6-1, 6-1; Renee Singh bt Radhika Mahajan 6-2, 6-0; Renee Singh bt Sweta Samanta 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Sweta Samanta bt bt Yana Dhamija 6-1, 6-3; Sweta Samanta bt Radhika Mahajan 6-3, 6-2; Yana Dhamija bt Radhika Mahajan 6-3, 6-1.


Ankita Raina wins first title of 2018 – the $25,000 ITF tournament in Gwalior

India’s top-ranked tennis player Ankita Raina on Sunday won the $25,000 ITF tournament in Gwalior after beating France’s Amandine Hesse in straight sets.

The fourth-seeded Indian beat the second-seeded Frenchwoman 6-2, 7-5 in a match that lasted an hour and 25 minutes. Doing so, Raina avenged her loss to Hesse in the $125,000 Mumbai Open last year.

Hesse, ranked 216 in the world, faltered with her first serves in the final, getting only 52% of them in while Raina was far more accurate with 80%. The 25-year-old Indian, ranked 255th in the world, also remained unbroken throughout the final.

This was Raina’s first final of the 2018 season and she ended it with a trophy. Her cause was helped by the fact that her semi-final opponent, Yana Sizikova, had retired from the match with dizziness after trailing 2-6, 0-4. Raina had even received a walkover from USA’s Monica Robinson in the quarter-finals.

Raina has progressively worked her way up the ITF circuit after starting in 2009. She has now won six singles titles and done well in China, one of the toughest places to succeed in Asia. She has also played during the grass-court season in Europe, with Porsche Open being one the highlights.


Prajnesh in final; Arjun Kadhe, Vijay Sundar Prashanth win doubles title


Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran sailed past eighth seed Manuel Pena Lopez of Argentina 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Friday.

The 28-year-old Prajnesh, ranked 235 in the world, started briskly and ran up a 5-0 lead before letting his opponent win a token game. In the second set, Prajnesh led 4-1 before he dropped serve for the only time in the match.

The left-hander from Chennai, Prajnesh, who fired six aces, converted four of 10 breakpoints to close the match in an hour and 20 minutes.

In the final, Prajnesh will play the former Asian junior champion and the third seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam who beat second seed and champion of the event last week in Kolkata, Carlos Boluda-Purkiss of Spain, with similar ease.

In the doubles final, Arjun Kadhe and Vijay Sundar Prashanth beat compatriots Mohit Mayur and Kaza Vinayak Sharma for the loss of four games. It was the second title as a pair for the duo, following the one last week.

The results:
Singles (semifinals): Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Manuel Pena Lopez (Arg) 6-1, 6-4; Nam Hoang Ly (Vie) bt Carlos Boluda-Purkiss (Esp) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles (final): Arjun Kadhe & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Mohit Mayur & Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-3, 6-1.


Ankita Raina in $25,000 tennis final


Ankita Raina sustained her smart game to outwit Yana Sizikova of Russia in the semifinals of the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the City Centre Tennis Complex here on Friday.

The 25-year-old Ankita was blasting her way past the Russian with such intensity and quick feet that the Russian complained of dizziness and retired, even before the medical attention or the referee could get on the court.

Ankita led 6-2, 4-0 in just about an hour when Yana felt that enough tennis had been played and walked across the net to shake hands with her, signalling to the chair umpire that she was quitting.

The doctor arrived along with the referee Sheetal Iyer, to take a look at the plight of Yana, and the match was closed with a proper announcement.

Ankita had started well, and ran up a 3-1 lead, but dropped serve in the fifth game. That possibly shook her to a better standard, as she raced away with the next seven games, smacking her strokes beyond the reach of the Russian, who had surrendered the first set with a double fault.

To her credit, Yana did try to fight, and fired a few aces to boost her confidence, but lacked the rhythm in her game or mobility to make a better contest against a quality opponent who was not giving anything easy.

In the final, Ankita will play second seed Amandine Hesse of France who stopped the fortnight-long superb run of the 19-year-old Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia with an authoritative performance.

Breaking the wiry Slovak’s serve int he seventh game and bouncing back from 0-40 in the next game to consolidate on the gains, Amandine played pretty close to her best.

The 25-year-old French girl completely broke the resistance of Tereza in the second set, by running up a 4-1 lead, breaking the serve of the champion of last week’s event in Bhopal, in the first and fifth games.

Ankita did play a superb match against Amandine in the quarterfinals of the $125,000 WTA event in Mumbai last year, but would be keen to improve her record against the French girl who is coached by former world No.62 Stephanie Foretz.

There was some cheer for Yana Sizikova later in the evening as she played robust in partnership with Ana Mihalikova to win the doubles title.

Yana and Ana, playing only the second time together, pocketed their second title as a pair, beating Freya Christie of Britain and Albina Khabibulina of Uzbekistan 10-5 in the super tie-break

The results:
Singles (semifinals): Ankita Raina bt Yana Sizikova (Rus) 6-2, 4-0 (retired); Amandine Hesse (Fra) bt Tereza Mihalikova (Svk) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles (final): Yana Sizikova (Rus) & Ana Veselinovic (Mne) bt Freya Christie (GBR) & Albina Khabibulina (Uzb) 6-3, 2-6, [10-5].


Divij Sharan in doubles quarterfinals in $150K Challenger in US


Divij Sharan in partnership with Scott Lipsky of the US scored a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over his erstwhile partner Purav Raja and Treat Huey of Philippines in the doubles pre-quarterfinals of the $150,000 Challenger tennis tournament in the US.

Divij and partner will play fourth seeds Nicholas Monroe and Jackson Withrow of the US in the quarterfinals.

In the $75,000 Challenger in China, top seeds Sriram Balaji and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia were beaten in the doubles quarterfinals 10-8 by Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Rameez Junaid of Australia.

Balaji and partner collected $960 and 17 ATP points.

Sumit Nagal sailed into the second round of the ITF Futures in Spain, but Sasi Kumar Mukund lost tamely in the second round in Portugal, after having beaten the second seed.

The results:

$150,000 Challenger men, Irving, US
Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Scott Lipsky (US) & Divij Sharan bt Treat Huey (Phi) & Purav Raja 6-4, 7-6(6).

$75,000 Challenger men, Shenzhen, China
Doubles (quarterfinals): Cheng-Peng Hsieh (Tpe) & Rameez Junaid (Aus) bt Christopher Rungkat (Ina) & Sriram Balaji 5-7, 6-4, 10-8.

$25,000 ITF men, Xabia, Spain
Singles (first round): Sumit Nagal bt Dariusz Lipka (Pol) 6-0, 6-2.

$15,000 ITF men, Quinta Do Lago, Portugal
Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Gianni Mina (Fra) bt Sasi Kumar Mukund 6-1, 6-2.


Prajnesh Gunneswaran in semifinals in ITF Futures


Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran continued to assert his strong game as the left-hander beat the reigning national champion Dalwinder Singh 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Thursday.

However, three other Indian players, Sidharth Rawat, Karunuday Singh and Arjun Kadhe were beaten in the quarterfinals.

It was a better fare from Arjun, as he went down fighting in three sets to the second seed Carlos Boluda-Purkiss of Spain who had beaten him in the final last week in Kolkata for the loss of four games.

Seventh seed Karunuday Singh lost with surprising ease against third seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam, winning a token game each in the two sets.

Prajnesh, will play eighth seed Manuel Pena Lopez of Argentina who recovered from losing the first set to Sidharth Rawat to eventually blank him in the decider.

There was some cheer for the Indian camp in doubles, as Arjun Kadhe in partnership with Vijay Sundar Prashanth set up a title clash against compatriots Mohit Mayur and Kaza Vinayak Sharma.

The results:

Singles (quarterfinals): Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Dalwinder Singh 7-5, 6-3; Manuel Pena Lopez (Arg) bt Sidharth Rawat 4-6, 6-3, 6-0; Nam Hoang Ly (Vie) bt Karunuday Singh 6-1, 6-1; Carlos Boluda-Purkiss (Esp) bt Arjun Kadhe 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

Doubles (semifinals): Mohit Mayur & Kaza Vinayak Sharma bt Kunal Anand & Shahbaaz Khan 6-3, 3-6, 10-5; Arjun Kadhe & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Carlos Boluda-Purkiss (Esp) & Nam Hoang Ly (Vie) 6-2, 7-6(3).