New Delhi: Delhi’s 19-year-old Yuki Bhambri and Pune’s teenage sensation Rutuja Bhosale were crowned as the new men’s and women’s champions in the Fenesta Open National Tennis Championship at DLTA Complex here on Saturday.
On a warm day with none other than tennis diva Sania Mirza as the chief guest, there was sufficient motivation for the combatants to play their best tennis.
Yuki Bhambri certainly did himself proud as after a long gap he became the first Delhi man to emerge champion. It was a tricky match against Vishnu Vardhan to start with. But as the match progressed, Yuki played solid tennis with his ground-strokes, he gave no chance to top seed Vishnu.
In the good old days, the men’s final used to be best of five sets. This time, it was a best of three sets and Yuki won 6-4, 7-6 (8/6). There were moments of uncertainty from both the players in the tight second set, as nerves got to them.
If Vishnu was error-prone in his net play, he could not cash in on the few chances he got to force the match into a third set. When Yuki forced the tie-break on the last point, Vishnu almost exploded as he argued over a line call.
That, in a way, rattled his concentration as he played flat tennis in the tie-break. Finally, when Vishnu hit an unforced error to lose the match, Yuki was ecstatic. The former Australia Open Junior Champion rushed to the net, hugged Vishnu and then walked off the court.
“This has been a good week for me. I am glad I am the national champion now,” said Yuki as he got the winner’s cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh rupees.
In the women’s final, 15-year-old Rutuja, who is supported by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, played with purpose to defeat Isha Lakhani 6-3, 6-3. This was a match where the bespectacled Rutuja, coached by Sandeep Kirtane needed to produce solid tennis to beat a termagant player. Isha did try as hard as she could, but was physically beaten by a fitter player. “I am happy to see a youngster winning the National title. Rutuja can do much better if she gets physically gets stronger,” said Isha.
For her part, Isha said she did not expect to do so well here. “I did not come into the tournament with expectations at all. From the qualifying till here, being runner-up was a nice run,” said Isha.
In the boys’ under-18 final, Arjun Khade faced some resistance from Mohit Jayaprakash before winning the title 7-5, 6-1. P. Sri Vaishnavi won the girls’ under-18 title as she outmatched Simran K.Sethi 2-6, 4-6, 6-1.
Giving away the prizes, Sani Mirza said, “This is one of the most important tennis tournaments in the calendar. I grew up playing here and it’s nice to see new champions winning.”