Arun Prakash-Arata duo triumphs

Special Correspondent
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Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Arata Onozawa paired for the first time to win the doubles title.— PHOTO: R. RAGU
Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Arata Onozawa paired for the first time to win the doubles title.— PHOTO: R. RAGU

Pairing for the first time, India’s Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Arata Onozawa of Japan clinched the doubles title in the MCC-S.R. Subramaniam Memorial International Tennis Federation men’s Futures tournament at the TNTA courts here on Friday, with a 6-4, 0-6, 10-7 win over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji.

Having collected five doubles titles each with different partners, the Rajagopalan-Onozawa pair started on a bright note breaking Jeevan’s serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. While the Japanese was relatively solid from the baseline, Rajagopalan finished points at the net whenever he got an opportunity.

Far too many errors

A fine volleyer, Sriram committed far too many errors at the net while Jeevan made unforced errors from the back-court. The lone break was enough for the Indo-Japanese pair to win the first set.

Sriram and Jeevan came up with a near-flawless performance in the second set breaking Rajagopalan’s serve in the second game.

Rajagopalan was erratic throughout and that rubbed on to the Japanese too. The match-tiebreaker, described as a lottery by many top players, saw Rajagopalan and Onozawa taking a 4-2 lead but the Indian pair caught up.

At 8-7, Sriram dumped an Onozawa’s forehand return into the net and, on match point, Sriram double faulted. “It’s nice to win the title at the start of the season. We want to do well in the Madurai leg too,” said Rajagopalan.

Earlier, in the singles semifinals, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan produced a fine performance to beat France’s Tak Khunn Wang 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2 while top seed Victor Crivoi of Romania beat Thales Turini of Brazil 6-3, 6-2.

A minute’s silence was observed in memory of P. L. Reddy, former Vice-President of Tamil Nadu Tennis Association and Secretary, All India Tennis Association, who passed away on Thursday.

The results (Indians unless otherwise mentioned):

Singles (Semifinals): Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Tak Khunn Wang (Fra) 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2; Victor Crivoi (Rou) bt Thales Turini (Bra) 6-3, 6-2.;

Doubles (final): Arun Prakash Rajagopalan & Arata Onozawa (Jpn) bt N. Sriram Balaji & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-4, 0-6, 10-7.

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