Fourth seed Paras Dahiya served the wake-up alarm to top seed Niki Poonacha before being beaten 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1 in the semifinals of the Fenesta National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.
In the final, the champion of the 2019 edition, Niki will face seventh seed Digvijay Pratap Singh, who tackled the climax with competence for a 6-1, 5-7, 7-5 victory over third seed Nitin Kumar Sinha.
Both the gripping contests were three-hour battles and understandably engrossing, as it was also about being content with Rs.40,000 or trying to push one’s case for the final which carries a total prize purse of Rs.5,00,000 with the champion getting three lakh rupees.
Among the women, top seed Zeel Desai and qualifier Sharmada Balu were pretty sharp in showing the door to former finalists, Sai Samhitha and Vaidehi Chaudhari respectively.
Sharmada Balu. – KAMESH SRINIVASAN
Zeel was quite composed in patiently stroking her way past Sai, after having dropped serve early in the second set. Sharmada was candid in dealing with Vaidehi who did not get her serve rhythm and delivered 13 double faults in the match. Despite focusing on doubles on her return to the circuit after a few years, she was light on her feet and fluent with her punchy game.
Sharmada put herself in line for a double by winning the doubles title with Sravya Shivani.
National Tennis C’Ship: Siddharth upset by Digvijay in quarters as Vaidehi reaches women’s semis
Niki was easily the best player in the men’s event, but he was asked to prove it by Paras who bounced back from being down 3-5 in the second set and saved a match point in the subsequent tie-break to force the decider. With his big serves and the ability to thump the forehand at will, Niki cruised in the third set.
National coach Zeeshan Ali had asked Nitin Kumar Sinha to try to play after he woke up with a sprained neck. A lot of taping on his neck and shoulder saw Nitin gingerly going through the motion in the first set, serving underarm early on. He picked up momentum and was athletic and played close to his best in the second and third sets to make it a lively affair.
Digvijay played consistently well and came through the climax in flying colours.
Niki also put himself in line for a double by winning the doubles title with SD Prajwal Dev.
Men (semifinals): Niki Poonacha bt Paras Dahiya 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1; Digvijay Pratap Singh bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-1, 5-7, 7-5.
Doubles (final): SD Prajwal Dev & Niki Poonacha bt Chandril Sood & Lakshit Sood 6-2, 7-6(3).
Women (semifinals): Zeel Desai bt Sai Samhitha 6-2, 6-2; Sharmada Balu bt Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles (final): Sharmada Balu & Sravya Shivani bt Vaidehi Chaudhari & Mihika Yadav 6-2, 6-3.
Bopanna-Shapovalov shine in ATP tournament
Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov moved into the doubles semifinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 win over the Russians, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev in the $932,370 ATP tennis tournament in Russia.
$932,370 ATP, St. Petersburg, Russia Doubles (quarterfinals): Denis Shapovalov (Can) & Rohan Bopanna bt
€44,820 Challenger, Ismaning, Germany Doubles (quarterfinals): Antonio Sancic (Cro) & Artem Sitak (Nzl) bt