SPORT

Banthia goes to Mahal

AIMING BIG:Siddhant Banthia has been training for about a month with Bobby Mahal, who had brushed up the game of both Sumit Nagal and Karman Kaur Thandi.— FILE PHOTO

AIMING BIG:Siddhant Banthia has been training for about a month with Bobby Mahal, who had brushed up the game of both Sumit Nagal and Karman Kaur Thandi.— FILE PHOTO  

Former British under-14 tennis champion Siddhant Banthia chose to train with experienced coach Bobby Mahal in Toronto, and has reaped prompt benefit in the form of his maiden ITF Grade-5 junior title in Saville, Edmonton.

Siddhant Banthia, who helped the Indian team to the World Group competition in the Junior Davis Cup under-16 event this season, has been training for about a month with Bobby Mahal, who had brushed up the game of both Sumit Nagal over many years and Karman Kaur Thandi during a short stint. “He has good potential. The best Indian boy I have since Sumit,” observed Bobby Mahal.

Of course, Bobby Mahal may not know the big game of Adil Kalyanpur, who has improved at a fast pace since winning the doubles title in the UK under-14 championship with Banthia.

To his credit, Bobby has been keeping an eye on the Indian juniors after having worked with Mahesh Bhupathi for a few years on nurturing young talent in Bengaluru.

Top seed Banthia fought very well in the final to tame second seed Nicaise Muamba of Canada 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

It was a good fight in the semifinal as well, when Banthia prevailed 6-1, 7-5 over Nevo Gabriely of Israel.

He gave only 11 games in all to his first three opponents.

Banthia and Sahil Sareen of Canada was, however, beaten 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the doubles pre-quarterfinals by Toi Kobayashi and Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan.

There was another Indian player Rhea Verma who did well to make the singles and doubles semifinals of the girls’ section. Rhea lost to the eventual champion Noya Ohana of Israel 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals.

She had earlier fought her way past Sophia Hatton of the USA 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2 and fourth seed Marlee Zein, also of the USA 7-6(5), 6-4.



He has good potential. The best Indian boy I have since Sumit.

— Bobby Mahal



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