Rushmi Chakravarthi beat Sanaa Bhambri 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the SAIL $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Saturday.

Serving well and stroking craftily rather than with punch, the 31-year-old Rushmi toyed with an erratic Sanaa, in racing to her twelfth singles title.

“I was prepared for a long match, but am happy that it finished quick. No matter how much I keep complaining about the heat in Delhi, I should acknowledge that I win more here,” said Rushmi, quite happy to win her fourth singles title in the Capital.

Quite surprisingly, it was the first victory for Rushmi over Sanaa in the professional circuit. She had lost the only other match to the Delhi left-hander way back in November 2006 in the final of a similar tournament in Ahmedabad. Rushmi has lost in nine singles finals.

Rushmi started briskly, breaking Sanaa in the first game. Sanaa looked to have warmed up for the challenge when she held serve in a long third game and broke Rushmi in the fourth.

However, the hopes of a fight evaporated quickly, as Rushmi broke right back in the fifth game, and held a strong hold over the proceedings thereafter, giving a mere two more games for the 21-year-old Sanaa.

“I had a different strategy today, as Sanaa is a left-hander,” said Rushmi who did not try to run around on her forehand as she had done in the semifinals against the top-seeded Poojashree Venkatesh, but opted to slice more, much to the discomfiture for the seventh-seeded Sanaa.

Having fought her way past the Chinese qualifier He Sirui in the semifinals in the third set tie-break, Sanaa looked to have exhausted herself and lacked the physical energy to move into her strokes. She was far too erratic with her forehand, and that saw Rushmi closing out the match in just over an hour.

Rushmi had won her lost title in June 2008 at the National Tennis Academy in Gurgaon. Her early losses in recent events in Delhi and Bangalore had a positive impact on her, in strengthening her resolve and kindling the competitive hunger.

“I played very well the whole week. I was concerned about pain and swelling in my playing arm last week. But the doctor had said that there was nothing to worry about and I should just play,” said Rushmi who did not drop a set in the tournament.

In fact, Rushmi dropped only 16 games in all in winning five matches, and just six in the first three rounds.

She will go to Dehra Dun for the next tournament starting on Monday.

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