Alan Gomes surprises Prateek

MYSORE June 26. It was a big day for the 15-year-old Alan Gomes in the AITA Under-18 championship series at the Mysore Tennis Club courts here on Thursday. The schoolboy from Ahmedabad who trains in the Hemanth Bendre Academy in Pune, felled the top seed and local favourite S. Prateek 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2) to charge into the semifinals.

Unseeded Gomes' strength was his consistency. He served well and kept slamming his topspin returns at a steady pace and packed quite a punch on his backhand. Prateek on the other hand, looked trifle over-confident and made quite a number of unforced errors and when the going got tough, his game simply cracked.

Gomes showed his resilience in the first set when he was down 3-5 and love 40, before he fought his way back into the set and levelled at six all and won the tie-break shootout convincingly (7-3).

Prateek was in a better shape in the second set and waged a grim battle. The two traded breaks after 3-all and this set too was again pushed to the tie-breaker. Gomes seized a 4-1 lead and was on his way to a deserving win.

"This is a big one for me and last event I played was the Super Series at Pune, where I lost in the first round'', said Gomes.

A controversial call upset the Sri Lankan contender, Nishendran and he went down to the fourth seed, Rohan Gide of Maharashtra 1-6, 3-6. Rohan looked superior and played aggressively to outplay the Lankan lad 6-1 in the first set. But the second set looked open and as they moved neck and neck at 3-all. In the seventh game, Nishendran, who was up 15-0, served what seemed an ace , but Rohan felt it was fault and though the umpire first ruled it in, the verdict was reversed as Rohan Gide stood his ground and disputed the decision. The point was replayed and thoroughly disappointed Nishendran promptly lost the point and the game.

The southpaw Rohan, all pumped now, took the next two games and Nishendran dropped the set and match with a double fault. "I was getting my rhythm back and I felt I was in with a chance before the decision turned everything upside down,'' said a dismayed Nishendran, who will return home to play in the Sri Lankan National championship next month.

Karnataka's G. Arjun was bit patchy against teammate Mesheer Vaswani but stayed on course for a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win, while the second seed, N. Kiran Kumar put it across Manu Bajpai 6-3, 6-4.

Kiran Kumar will meet Rohan Gide in the semifinals and Gomes runs into G. Arjun.

Local girl and unseeded Chirashanthi's winning streak continued for the second day in the tournament when she recorded yet another upset win over eight seeded another Mysore girl, V. Poojashree in two well contested sets 7-6 (8-6),7-5 which lasted for 90 minutes and entered the semifinals.

The first set went on with breaks and in the deciding tie-breaker Chirashanthi took a early 3-0 lead with some inspiring winners on both the flanks. She ultimately went on to win at 8-6. In the second set, Chirashanthi displaying more consistency with her returns on both the flanks broke Poojashree's serve in the tenth game and later wrapped up the set and the match at 7-5.

In the other quarterfinals, topseeded Vandana Murali (Tamil Nadu) brushed aside the challenge of Andhra's T. Shravya 6-1, 6-1.

Fourth seeded Priya Pachkwade (Maharashtra) outsmarted the fifth seeded Akshitha B Raj of Karnataka 6-1,6-0. Third seeded Lodha Shradda pf Maharashtracame back from behind to register a hard earned win over seventh seeded Pooja Shetty (Kanatakar) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

In the semifinals, Vandana takes on Priya Pachkawde while Chirashanthi meets Lodha Shradda.

Vandana, Shradda bag doubles title

The topseeded pair of Vandana Murali and Lodha Shradda combined well to win the girls under-18 doubles title beating second seeded Asha Nanadakumar (Karnataka) and Priya Pachkawde (Maharashtra) at 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

While Vandana improvised at the net, the left-handed Shradda impressed with her consistent backcourt play and seized the initiative from their rivals.

The results: Boys U-18 singles (quarterfinals): Allan Gomes (Mah) bt S. Prateek (Kar) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2); G. Arjun (Kar) bt Mesheer Vaswani (Kar) 6-3,6-2; Rohan Gide (Mah) bt Nishendran (SL) 6-1, 6-3; N. Kiran Kumar (Kar) bt Manu Bajpai (Kar) 6-3, 6-4.

Boys U-18 doubles (quarterfinals): G. Arjun/N. Kiran Kumar (Kar) bt Navaneetha Kannan/Hariprasanth (TN) 6-0, 6-4; Rophan Gide/Allen Gomes (Mah) bt R. Vijaykumar/Bruhath V Raker (Kar) 6-3, 6-2; Kaushik S Raju (Kar)/Nishendran (SL) bt Pradeep (Kar)/P.C. Vignesh (AP) 6-2, 6-1; S. Prateek/Manu Bajpai (Kar) bt Gurusher S Harika (Chd)/Aniket Ghaskadvi (Mah) 6-1, 6-4.

Pre-quarterfinals: B. Navaneetha Kannan/M. Hariprasanth bt Suraj Sachidanand/Mesheer Vaswani 6-4, 6-1; P.C. Vignesh/T.S. Pradeep bt Sagar G Kashyap/N. Sunil Kumar 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; Bruhat V Raker (Kar)/S. Vijaykumar bt Rynold Timothy/Akbar Ali Kamil 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3); S. Prateek/Manu Bajpai bt Nikunj Siwach/Vijay Siwach 6-1, 6-2.

Girls Under-18 singles (quarterfinals): Vandana Murali (TN) bt T. Shravya (AP) 6-1, 6-1; Priya Pachkwade (Mah) bt Akshitha B Raj (Kar) 6-1, 6-0; R. Chirashanthi (Kar) bt V. Poojashree (Kar) 7-6 (8-6), 7-5; Lodha Shradda (Mah) bt Pooja Shetty (Kar) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Girls U-18 doubles (finals): Vandana Murali/Lodha Shradda bt Asha Nandakumar/Priya Pachkawade (Mah) 6-1, 6-3; semifinals: Vandana Murali (TN)/Lodha Shradda (Mah) bt V. Poojashree/R. Chirashanthi (Kar) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2; Asha Nandakumar (Kar)/Priya Pachkawade (Mah) bt Anushree Thammanna/Pooja Shetty (Kar) 6-2, 6-2.

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