Unseeded Nikki Poonacha capped a wonderful run by beating Suraj Prabodh 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the boys’ finals of the Indian Oil – Servo ITF junior tennis championship here on Saturday. In the girls’ final, Riya Bhatia defeated Pranjala Yadlapalli 7-6(8), 6-1.
In the first set, it was third-seeded Suraj who went on the offensive by taking a 4-1 lead. Though Poonacha managed to break back once, the former won the set 6-4. However, in the second set, displaying a better range of shots, Poonacha took a 4-0 lead. He ran Suraj end-to-end and mixed it up with some delightful drop shots as he clinched the second set 6-1.
A medical timeout for Suraj ensued as he experienced discomfort in his stomach. But Poonacha continued his onslaught as winners started flowing from his racquet. Suraj was unconvincing in any of his service games, and had to dig deep after he was broken early in the third set. Poonacha served for the match at 5-4 and won with three big serves and a crisp volley.
The girls’ summit clash saw both players trade four breaks of serve, before Riya took the set in a tie-breaker. However, in the second, Pranjala was no match for her as she won by a convincing 6-1 margin. N. Srikumar, Executive director, Corporate Communications and Branding, Indian Oil Corporation gave away the prizes.
The results: Finals: Boys: Nikki Poonacha bt Suraj Prabodh 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Girls: Riya Bhatia bt Pranjala Yadlapalli 7-6(8), 6-1.