It was time to enjoy the rewards of hard work. The India girls qualified with ease as they beat Kazakhstan 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.
Shivani Ingle gave a rousing start for the host as she blanked Darya Detkovskaya in 47 minutes. If the Indian girls thought it would be a walk in the park, they were mistaken as Ainur Suleimenovadis played a much superior game in the second singles to push Sathwika Sama to her wit’s end.
Sathwika shrugged off her tentative game to weave a web around the Kazakh girl on the way to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory in nearly two hours. The relieved Indian girls returned later to the court to clinch the inconsequential doubles as well, in three sets.
India will play second-seeded Chinese Taipei in the semifinals, while the other match will feature top-seeded Australia and third-seeded China.
Captain Ankita Bhambri praised the girls for keeping a positive attitude and playing to their potential, despite the fluctuating fortunes. She was also relieved that the girls sealed the issue in the singles matches itself.
More than anything else, Ankita was happy that the girls would get six matches in the World Group competition in the Czech Republic in August, that would further pave the way for them to become better.
“The girls are much better players today than what they were when the tournament started. They have been receptive and improved with every match. I have kept a positive outlook and made sure that the pressure did not get to them,” said Ankita, who herself had helped the Indian girls reach the fifth spot in the world in the company of Sania Mirza in the Junior Fed Cup.
Shivani Ingle, who trains with Sandeep Kirtane and Kedar Shah at the Deccan Gymkhana in Pune, said that she was very happy to help the team qualify. “We were focused to give our best,” she said.
Sathwika Sama who was very nervous in the early part of her match and froze with many shots said that she was thrilled to have bounced back into the match, neutralising the strategy of her opponent by running hard to get the drops and turning the match on its head.
A trainee of coaches Narendra Nath and Vasudeva Reddy in Hyderabad, Sathwika said that the team was confident of clinching the tie and qualifying for Czech Republic after the memorable victory over fourth seed Japan in the league.
The results (quarterfinals): Australia bt Japan 2-0 (Baijing Lin bt Yuki Ando 6-0, 6-1; DestaneeAiava bt Ayumi Miyamoto 6-1, 6-2).
China bt New Zealand 2-0 (Tang Qianhui bt Tiana Windbuchler 6-3, 6-2; Nima Zhuoma bt Nina Paripovich 5-4 (retired).
India bt Kazakhstan 3-0 (Shivani Ingle bt Darya Detkovskaya 6-0, 6-0; Sathwika Sama bt Ainur Suleimenova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Aarja Chakraborty & Sathwika Sama bt Darya Detkovskaya & Ainur Suleimenova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3).
Chinese Taipei bt Hong Kong 3-0 (Pei-Hsuan Chen bt Hei Ching Ng 6-1,7-5; I-Hsuan Cho bt Hong Yi Wong 6-3, 6-0; Pei-Hsuan Chen & Yang Leebt Hei Ching Ng & Wai Yiu Tsang 6-1, 6-4).