Sathwika Sama and Shivani Ingle handled the Indonesian challenge with competence and composure as India opened its campaign with a 2-1 victory in Group ‘C’, in the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 girls tennis tournament here on Monday.
With captain Ankita Bhambri providing sound advice and excellent support despite the fluctuating fortunes during the matches, the Indian girls were able to play to potential against the talented Indonesians.
Even though both Shivani and Sathwika won in straight sets, their opponents had the game to beat them. In fact, Sathwika’s match was a thriller as the Indian girl looked to have lost her way after taking a 4-0 lead.
However, she arrested the dip in her game, even as Shevita Aulana played with purpose, saving a set-point on the Indonesian’s serve in the 12th game and forcing a tie-break. Sathwika sustained her good work in the tie-break in which Shevita made a few errors in going for broke with her attacking strokes.
In the second set, Sathwika served increasingly better she had a few aces to jump up to a 5-0 lead. Though she dropped serve, Sathwika stroked craftily to take the sting away from the Indonesian’s strokes.
Earlier, Shivani bounced back from a slow start, when she trailed 0-3, to record a fine victory against the diminutive Fitriani Sabatini. Shivani moved well and stroked with confidence, unleashing a strong forehand at the slightest provocation in giving a good start for the host.
The Indian girls lost the doubles, but qualification for the knock-out may not be a problem, as Kyrgyzstan proved easy meat for the fourth-seeded Japan in the other match in the group.
Meanwhile, in Group ‘D’, Hong Kong upset fifth-seeded Thailand 2-1, winning the decisive doubles 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in two hours and 30 minutes. Hei Ching Ng won both her singles and doubles matches to help Hong Kong nurse qualification ambition from the group.
The results (league):
Group A: Kazakhstan bt Turkmenistan 3-0; Australia bt Uzbekistan 3-0. Group B: New Zealand bt Singapore 3-0; Chinese Taipei bt Korea 3-0.
Group C: India bt Indonesia 2-1 (Shivani Ingle bt Fitriani Sabatini 6-4, 6-4; Sathwika Sama bt Shevita Aulana 7-6(2), 6-1; Aarja Chakraborty & Shivani Ingle lost to Fitriani Sabatini & Faiza Salsaliba Nurhidayati 2-6, 2-6). Japan bt Kyrgyzstan 3-0
Group D: Hong Kong bt Thailand 2-1; China bt Philippines 3-0.