Ramkumar Ramanathan of Tamil Nadu became the new men’s champion and Ankita Raina of Gujarat regained the women’s crown producing almost identical scorelines in the two singles finals of the National grass-court tennis here at the South Club on Saturday.
Top-seeded Ankita prevailed over fifth-seeded Natasha Palha 6-1, 6-2 in the women’s final while sixth seeded Ramkumar reversed the order (6-2, 6-1) in winning against eighth-seeded Saurav Sukul of Bengal in the men’s title clash.
Ankita missed the chance to annex the doubles title when she and her partner Rushmi Chakravarthi of Tamil Nadu lost the final against the team of Natasha and Treta Bhattacharya of Bengal.
Ramkumar’s win was the highlight of the day as the 18-year-old player produced a matured game, totally outplaying the 28-year-old Saurav.
The Bengal player, who also had an impressive run before reaching the final, could hardly get a foothold in the match as Ramkumar started attacking from the beginning.
The Chennai-based player, who has been training at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, showed excellent court craft and had the right game for the surface.
Ramkumar faltered once in the fifth game of the first set where he was down a couple of break points as Saurav pressed for early advantage.
The former salvaged the game hitting a succession of winners and never looked back from that point.
Ramkumar broke Saurav in the sixth and the eighth games to win the first set 6-2 and continued with a greater momentum in the second where he broke his opponent in the fourth and six games and ensured the title in just 59 minutes.
“I had played the same tournament couple of years ago but could not do much as I was younger then. My game has improved a lot ever since I started training in Barcelona under coach Joan Balcells at the academy,” said Ramkumar, who became the under-18 national champion in 2009 and 2010.
“Winning the nationals is a big motivation and this will help me in aiming bigger in future,” said the youngster who wishes to be a part of the Davis Cup team.
Ankita Raina, who lifted the title first in 2009, said she had been training hard to get back the crown. “I did not make many errors and my shots were also landing in the right areas.
“It feels nice that my hard work has paid off,” Ankita, who idolises Serena Williams for her aggressive game, said.
Ankita, who has presently shifted base from Ahmedabad to Pune to train under coach Hemant Bendre, served and returned with great felicity and wrapped up the proceedings in 75 minutes.
The results (finals):
Men’s singles: Ramkumar Ramanathan (TN) bt Saurav Sukul (Ben) 6-2, 6-1.
Women’s singles: Ankita Raina (Guj) bt Natasha Palha (Goa) 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles: Natasha Palha (Goa) & Treta Bhattacharya (Ben) bt Ankita Raina (Guj) & Rushmi Chakravarthi (TN) 4-6, 6-1, 10-8.