Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Sriram Balaji reiterated his mature game and growing confidence as he knocked out the second-seeded Rohan Gide 7-6(5), 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the DSCL National men’s tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.

In a contest that was nerve-wracking for both the players in a long-drawn first set that spanned an hour and 10 minutes, the 18-year-old Sriram revealed his overwhelming hunger for success, as he saw through the crafty game of the left-hander with a determined fare.

It was Gide who called the shots initially, as he broke Sriram in the third game. However, Sriram not only broke back in the next game, but also warded off as many as four break points in the ninth game. In the eventual tie-break, Gide saved two set points on his serve at 3-6, but hit long on the third set point.

Thereafter, it was a cakewalk for Sriram as he raced to a 4-0 lead. Gide tried his best by holding serve in the fifth and seventh games. He saved a match point in the process, before Sriram sealed the issue in the eighth game.

Sriram will take on Aditya Madkekar, who cruised past Vijayant Malik, for the loss of three games.

The top-seeded V.M. Ranjeet asserted that he was the player to beat as he came up with a clean game to get past a tricky customer, Arjun Goutham, with admirable ease.

Ranjeet shows his class

Ranjeet was quite sharp right from the start and Arjun had to be content playing well only in patches. Arjun saved six set points to hold serve in the ninth game of the first set, but he had conceded the advantage earlier by getting broken in the fourth game.

Ranjeet was serving far too solid to get into any trouble.

In the second set, Arjun dropped serve in the fifth game, to lose his way, in a decisive fashion.

Ranjeet will be challenged by the seventh-seeded Kamala Kannan in the semifinals. There was a bit of suspense in the second set, but Kannan reeled off four games in a row from 2-3 to scotch all hopes of a revival for Vignesh, for a 6-3, 6-3 win.

The results: Singles (quarterfinals): V.M. Ranjeet bt Arjun Goutham 6-3, 6-4; Kamala Kannan bt P.C. Vignesh 6-3, 6-3; Aditya Madkekar bt Vijayant Malik 6-1, 6-2; Sriram Balaji bt Rohan Gide 7-6(5), 6-2.

Doubles (semifinals): B. Vikram Reddy and Abhijeet Tiwari bt Pulkit Mishra and Ankit Sachdeva 6-3, 6-4; Mithun Murali and Vinod Sridhar bt Yannick Nelord and Saurav Sukul 6-4, 7-5.

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