The opposition continued to be strong but there was a marked improvement in the attitude of the Indian girls as they went down to top seed Australia 0-2 in the match for the third place in the Asia Oceania World Junior under-14 girls tennis tournament here on Saturday.
Though Shivani Ingle and Sathwika Sama managed to eke out only five games, there were many rallies that showed that the Indian girls were willing to work to bridge the gap in terms of quality.
Shivani took three games off Baiing Lin, all of them in the first set.
She did break the Aussie in the eighth game when the latter was serving for the first set.
Sathwika in the rallies long against Destanee Aiava, even though the match lasted only 45 minutes.
It was impressive the way Sathwika kept improving through the match and hammered four winners in holding serve in the sixth game of the second set.
With a little more tuning in terms of anticipation and athleticism, the Indian girls hinted that they could not only match the Aussies but also take the fight to them. Easy goingIn the final, Chinese Taipei pulled it off against China in style, without dropping a set. The player holding the key to the Chinese fortunes in the tournament, the lanky Tang Qianhui played well but could not capitalise on the favourable flow as the diminutive Pei-Hsuan Chen threw back everything and hit with punch.
The Chinese tended to err far too often and did not have the motivation to make a fight of it.
Once she lost the first set and dropped serve early in the second, there was no recovery.
In the second singles, I-Hsuan Cho showed that she was easily the best girl in the tournament, with her strong serves and strokes, as she dropped just a game while outclassing Nima Zhuoma.Welcome sightIt was a welcome sight as the players mixed freely at the end of a hard week of competition and had a lot of fun while waiting for the presentation ceremony.
The top four teams qualified for the World Group competition to be staged in the Czech Republic in August.
Final: Chinese Taipei bt China 2-0 (Pei-Hsuan Chen bt Tang Qianhui 7-5, 6-3; I-Hsuan Cho bt Nima Zhuoma 6-0, 6-1).
Third place: Australia bt India 2-0 (Baijing Lin bt Shivani Ingle 6-3, 6-0; Destanee Aiava bt Sathwika Sama 6-0, 6-2).
Final placings: 1. Chinese Taipei, 2. China, 3. Australia, 4. India, 5. Japan, 6. Kazakhstan, 7. New Zealand, 8. Hong Kong.
9. Korea, 10. Thailand, 11. Indonesia, 12. Kyrgyzstan, 13. Uzbekistan, 14. Philippines, 15. Singapore, 16. Turkmenistan.