Bangalore: Veteran Nitin Kirtane of Railways battled sunstroke and rampaging rival Rohan Gide to make it to the men`s singles final of the JGI Stalwart Topspin Open AITA Pro Circuit championship here today.
In a clash of southpaws which lasted 100 minutes, the 38-year-old Kirtane prevailed over his 24-year rival 6-0 1-6 6-4 and set up a title clash with Vinod Sridhar of Tamil Nadu
Sridhar made the final at the expense of an injured Vijay Kannan of ONGC, who retired citing a toe injury and blisters. Kirtane is also in line for a double, as he entered the men`s doubles final partnering Saurav Sukul.
"Not bad to be in a final at 38," said Kirtane. "I could barely see or move towards the end, but held on," he added.
The women`s singles came to a farcical end as Spurthi Shivalingaiah was adjduged the champion without playing either the semifinals or final as other players conceded to play the qualifying rounds in the ITF Gulbarga Open Women`s Futures Championship.
Top seed Eetee Mehta of Gujarat defeated Niku Amin 6-1 6-1 in the semifinals, while Spurthi got a walkover from second seed Riya Bhatia of Delhi, who preferred to go to Gulbarga. So did Eetee Mehta, who opted not to play the final, thus leaving Spurthi the champion. Spurthi, incidentally, has a wild card in the main draw at Gulbarga.
The women`s doubles semifinalists also decided not to go through with the schedule in order to go to Gulbarga.
"It is just not proper and we have taken a serious view of this mass walkovers and we will be reporting it to AITA," said Kiran Nandakumar, CEO of the Stalwart Sports, which is organising the tournament.