Principal Correspondent

Okruashvili has never gone past the qualifiers before this

Rushmi and Poojashree Venkatesh win the doubles title

ANGAMALY: It’s a blessing to have a poker face on a tennis court. Putting on an expressionless mask, Rushmi Chakravarthi frequently sent Japan’s Miki Miyamura on a confused run as she entered the singles final of the Federal Bank international women’s tournament at the FISAT Stadium, Mookkannur, on Friday.

With her smart angles, the top seed from Chennai often wrong-footed the seventh-seeded Miyamura during her 6-4, 6-2 victory that set up a final clash with Georgia’s Magda Okruashvili in this ITF event.

Okruashvili, who has never got past the qualifying rounds before this, defeated Delhi’s Shalini Sahoo 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

Later, top seeds Rushmi and Poojashree Venkatesh, pairing up for the first time, won the doubles title, defeating the unseeded Geeta Manohar and Archana Venkataraman 6-1, 7-5.

Miyamura had appeared to be a worthy opponent to Rushmi in the singles semifinal, especially after she had packed off the third-seeded Korean Yu Min-Hwa in the previous round. The Japanese served an ace in her opening game and there were some sliced backhands which appeared to trouble the top seed early in the first set. Watching all this, the crowd anticipated a close match.

But Rushmi soon had her opponent stretching and running from side to side with some smart groundstrokes. She broke the Japanese girl in the third game but the Miyamura broke back in the sixth to make it 3-3.

Rushmi gained a crucial advantage in the ninth game when Miyamura served two double faults and though the next game was close, the Chennai player went on to win the opening set.

The top seed raced to a 4-0 lead in the next set, breaking the Japanese in the first and third games. Miyamura seemed to wilt in the heat, at one point even yelling out: “I’m tired.”

Rushmi did not have to work much after that.

The results: Singles: Semifinals: Rushmi Chakravarthi (Ind) bt Miki Miyamura (Jpn) 6-4, 6-2; Magda Okruashvili (Geo) bt Shalini Sahoo (Ind) 6-3, 6-2. Doubles: Final: Rushmi Chakravarthi & Poojashree Venkatesh (Ind) bt Geeta Manohar & Archana Venkataraman (Ind) 6-1, 7-5.

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