Nikshep, Pandole make final in AITA tennis
Bangalore: Top seed BR Nikshep shrugged off an upset stomach to overcome Vignesh Subramanyam 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 here Friday and set up a title clash with Rian Pandole of Maharashtra in the boys singles final of the R.T.Narayan Memorial AITA National Series Under-16 tennis tournament.
Ninth seeded Pandole dropped the first set but came back to beat second seed Sanil Jagtiani of West Bengal 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) in the other semi-final.
In the girls singles, the top two seeds Snehal Mane of Maharashtra and R Abhinikka of Tamil Nadu will meet in the final.
Mane knocked out Vaidehi Chaudhry of Gujarat 6-0, 6-1 while Abinikka was just too good for Shivani Ingle (Maharashtra) in winning 6-0, 6-0 in the semi-finals.
Both the boys semi-finals provided engrossing fare and Mysore lad Vignesh was a revelation as he punched hard and kept Nikshep on his toes with his solid backhand and sharp volleys.
Nikshep certainly was the better of the two with his strong forehand and double handed backhand returns. However, he was much slower on the court today and made quite a few double faults.
Nikshep was very much in his element in the first set which he took easily at 6-1. But in the second set, which was marked by good rallies, it was Vignesh who held the upper hand.
Vignesh took a 2-0 lead breaking Nikshep in the second game. Nikshep levelled it at 4-all before Vignesh struck decisively in the 10th game.
Nikshep, stung by that reverse, came back with renewed vigour in the decider. He broke Vignesh in quick succession in the first and third games to take a 3-0 lead. Vignesh, who dropped the third game with two double faults, pressed the panic button and began spraying his shots while Nikshep stayed the course to wrap up the set and match at 6-1.
In the other semi-finals, Jagtiani was worn down by a tenacious Pandole in a prolonged three- setter marked by long rallies. Jagtiani took the first set with a break in the 10th but Pandole kept his composure for a crucial break in the ninth for the second.
The decider saw a fierce battle as both traded breaks. Serving for the match at 5-4, Pandole was broken and eventually the set went into a tie-breaker. Pandole called the shots as he raced to a 4-1 lead and clinched the issue.