Arjun Kadhe survived two set-points to pull off a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Mohit Mayur in the men’s semifinals of the Fenesta National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.
It was easily the match of the day, and had quite thoughtfully been rescheduled as the last on centre-court. The spectators included All India Tennis Association (AITA) President Anil Khanna and Vice-President Karthi Chidambaram, apart from a battery of coaches including Nandan Bal.
Though he was backing the Tamil Nadu players financially by generating sponsorship support for them, especially to train in Spain, Karthi, son of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, had a high opinion of Arjun and was toying with the idea of extending support to him. This opinion was reinforced as the 18-year-old Arjun, coached by Hemant Bendre and supported by the Lakshya Group, produced a high quality fare.
It was the bespectacled Mohit who took a 5-3 lead with a break in the eighth game and had two set-points on his serve in the ninth. However, he failed to capitalise on them owing to errors and paid dearly for the lapse.
Once he broke Mohit, Arjun stepped on the pedal and won the next five games, though he needed seven match-points on his serve in the 12th game to take the set, which he did in style with an ace.
With a 2-0 lead in the second set, Arjun slowed a bit and the 19-year-old Mohit grabbed his chance to break back, but was unable to swing the flow any further in his favour.
Arjun broke back in the fifth game and served well to sail through.
The key to the contest was his winning that long 12th game in which he fired five of his 10 aces in the match. “I knew most of the people were supporting him. I took it in a positive way. He is a very good fighter. I had to serve well. It was a high intensity match and both of us would not have been able to maintain the quality had it moved to the third set,” said Arjun, quite happy with his victory. He had lost to Mohit thrice in as many meetings in the ITF junior circuit.
Having beaten two other players from Tamil Nadu, Elwin Antony and second-seeded V.M. Ranjeet apart from Mohit, Arjun was ready to tackle the challenge from another youngster from the State, R. Ramkumar.
In the top half, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan cruised past Ashwin Vijayaraghavan to set up a semifinal clash against Siddharth Rawat.
Coached by Ratan Sharma, Rawat had his game plan in place against the fluent stroking Vaidik Munshaw and beat in him three sets.
In the women’s section, Sri Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy fought her way past the fourth-seeded Shweta Rana, while the top three sets, Rishika Sunkara, Prerna Bhambri and Natasha Palha made it in straight sets.
In the junior girls’ section, top-seeded Simran Sethi, who had made the final last year, was beaten in straight sets by Tarrannum Handa.
Men (quarterfinals): Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Ashwin Vijayaraghavan 6-1, 6-2; Siddharth Rawat bt Vaidik Munshaw 1-6, 6-2, 6-1; R. Ramkumar bt Saurabh Singh 6-1, 6-2; Arjun Kadhe bt Mohit Mayur 7-5, 6-4.
Women (quarterfinals): Rishika Sunkara bt Vaniya Dangwal 6-1, 6-2; Natasha Palha bt Eetee Maheta 7-6(5), 6-3; Sri Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy bt Shweta Rana 1-6, 6-2, 6-1; Prerna Bhambri bt Simran Sethi 6-0, 6-4.
Doubles (semifinals): Prerna Bhambri & Rishika Sunkara bt Sri Vaishnavi Peddi Reddy & Prarthana Thombare 3-6, 6-1, 10-8; Treta Bhattacharya & Natasha Palha bt Tarrannum Handa & Manya Nagpal 6-1, 6-1.
Under-18 boys (quarterfinals): Rishab Aggarwal bt Sai Nikhil 6-1, 6-0; Neeraj Elangovan bt A.K. Partha Saradhi 6-2, 7-5; Karan Salwan bt Hardeep Singh Sandhu 7-5, 6-4; Shaikh Abdullah bt Ranjeet Singh 6-0, 7-5.
Doubles (final): Anvit Bendre & Shaikh Abdullah bt Shailendar Boniface & Garry Tokas 6-4, 6-0.
Under-18 girls (quarterfinals): Tarrannum Handa bt Simran Sethi 6-3, 6-4; Sai Amhitha bt Rimpledeep Kaur 6-4, 6-0; Pranjala Yadlapalli bt Amrita Mukherjee 6-3, 6-3; Nehal Sahni bt Himani Mor 6-4, 6-1.