Tennis

Indian girls lose

It was a heart-breaker for the host as the Indian girls went down fighting to the eighth-seeded Thailand 1-2 in a group-B league match of the Asia-Oceania Junior Fed Cup under-16 tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Wednesday.

The cards played by the captain Shalini Thakur, as she tried to manoeuvre her limited resources, came unstuck as the surprise element, Snehadevi Reddy, the third best player in the Indian team, lost in both the singles and doubles.

Tahira Bhatti provided a sharp victory for India in the second singles with her sound strokes, but was unable to pull her weight in the doubles with the same conviction.

Chance missed

With its second defeat in as many matches after the loss to the second-seeded Australia on the opening day, the Indian girls lost a chance to make the quarterfinals, and possibly fight for one of the four qualification spots from the zone for the World Group competition to be staged later in the season.

It was a surprise when Snehadevi Reddy, the No. 1 player in the under-14 section was fielded ahead of Jasmine Kaur Bajaj in the first rubber. But the Andhra Pradesh girl looked to have lived up to the faith placed on her when she raced away with the first set 6-1, even as the Thai girl Nahathai Khuntaket struggled with her serve and was delivering doublefaults on breakpoints.

In the second set, the Thai found her rhythm and made a big change in the complexion of the game by breaking the Indian in the fifth game. After further exchange of breaks, Snehadevi took the set into the tie-breaker. It was here that the Thai called the shots and converted the fifth set point when the Indian buried her backhand into the net.

In the decider, it was Snehadevi who first broke the Thai in the third game, but the latter broke back in the fourth game and decisively again in the tenth game to seal the contest that had spanned two hours and 50 minutes.

Class act

Tahira Bhatti was a class act as she dictated terms after an initial exchange of breaks in the first two games, and closed out the match in an hour and 15 minutes to put the teams on par.

Jasmine Kaur was scheduled to partner Tahira for the doubles, but it was decided to give the spirited Snehadevi another chance. The Indian duo started well, but lost the momentum in the second set, as Tahira's serve was broken twice. In the decider, serve was broken seven times, and the Thai girls had the last laugh as they broke Tahira in the ninth game, and served out at love.

India will meet Sri Lanka in the last league match on Thursday

The results: Thailand bt India 2-1 (Nahathai Khuntaket bt Snehadevi Reddy 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-4; Kamonwan Buayam lost to Tahira Bhatti 3-6, 3-6; Kamonwan Buayam and Nahathai Khuntaket bt Snehadevi Reddy and Tahira Batti 4-6, 6-1, 6-4).

Other results: Group-A: Chinese Taipei bt Japan 2-1; Hong Kong bt China 3-0; Group-B: Australia bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Group-C: Korea bt Uzbekistan 3-0; Indonesia bt Singapore 3-0; Group-D: New Zealand bt Philippines 2-1; Kazakhstan bt Malaysia 3-0.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:13:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Indian-girls-lose/article14698930.ece

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