Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Vishnu Vardhan clinched the doubles title at the MCC-S.R. Subramaniam Memorial ITF Futures Tennis Championship after defeating Sriram Balaji and V.M. Ranjeet 7-6(1), 6-3 here on Friday. Balaji had earlier lost the singles semifinal as well, to top seed Enrique Lopez-Perez in three sets.
The doubles final was a subdued affair. The frenzied net-play that has become a feature of today’s doubles matches was hardly on display. There were no breaks of serve in the first set, and it went to a tie-break. Jeevan and Vishnu showed their first signs of superiority, taking it 7-1. In the second set, the duo broke at 4-3. With Vishnu serving, it was down 0-40 but clawed its way back before Jeevan wrapped it up with an easy overhead.
The singles semifinal between Balaji and Lopez-Perez was a ding-dong battle. For the second match in succession, Balaji was unable to sustain a phase of superior play for long. He took a 2-0 lead in the first, only to let his opponent reel off four successive games in return. Three more breaks ensued before the set went to a tie break. Balaji was up 6-2 in it, but lost six straight points to gift the set to the Spaniard.
A second set turnaround saw Balaji surge 5-0 ahead. Aided by his top-notch volleying, he took the set 6-1. But true to form, he fell behind 2-4 in the third. A solitary break could have turned the tables, but Lopez-Perez was a lot steadier than in the first two sets, showing no signs of fatigue under the sweltering afternoon sun. He took the set 6-2.
For Balaji, going into the next two Futures tournaments, the double-faults that he served at decisive moments here need to curbed, so that it can complement his otherwise good first serve.
Earlier in the day, in the first semifinal, Sanam Singh thrashed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-0, 6-2 in under an hour.
The results: Doubles: Final: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan & Vishnu Vardhan bt Sriram Balaji & V.M. Ranjeet 7-6(1), 6-3.
Singles: Semifinals: Enrique Lopez-Perez (Esp) bt Sriram Balaji 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-2; Sanam Singh bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-0, 6-2.