Chennai: Mohammad Niyaz and S. Prashanth won Loyola College the Erskine Cup at the Bertram Memorial tournaments with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over the Anna University pair of Sudarshan and Sharan in the tennis doubles final on Thursday.

The first set followed a peculiar pattern for the first eight games — Niyaz and Sharan held their first two service games — while those of Prashanth and Sudarshan were broken.

It went with serve after that till the pressure got to the Loyola pair with Niyaz serving at 5-6, Prashanth fluffing two critical volleys to hand Anna University the set 7-5.

The Loyola duo had to fight every inch to take the second set, a period of the game dominated by errant first serves. Recovering to restore parity twice, from 0-2 and 2-5 down, it finally went ahead in the 11th game, on Sharan’s serve, a splendid down-the-line backhand return winner from Niyaz to go to 0-30 signalling the swing in fortunes.

Losing the plot

Sharan and Sudarshan let slip a 2-0 lead again in the final set, and from then on lost the plot. At breakpoint in the seventh game, Sharan double-faulted to give Loyola a 4-3 lead. Prashanth extended this to 5-3, somehow managing to hold serve in an excruciating game that contained two double faults and two aces, one of them on the second serve.

The Loyola pair closed out the match in style in the very next game, with a return winner each from Niyaz and Prashanth. — Sports Reporter

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