It was a quiet and dull Wednesday morning at the DLTA. The birds were not their usual chirpy selves, the workers working at the stadium were seemingly on an off day and the players were following their usual norm of warming up before their second round matches of the DSCL Nationals, rather silently.
The uneventful morning, however, was not a sign of things to come. One youngster lit up the day through her impressive game that made you sit up and take notice.
The 14-year-old wildcard entrant Ratnika Batra put up an error-free show in demolishing the hopes of fourth seed Anushree Thammania of Karnataka 6-0, 6-3 in the second round in just over an hour.
The Delhi girl not only surprised everyone with her sound ground-strokes but also with her solid serve that left Thammania stranded most of the times.
Batra was only four when her father gifted her a pair of tennis shoes he had bought from Switzerland. "I really wasn't too fond of tennis back then but slowly I started getting really interested," said Batra, a student of Bal Bharti School, Pitampura.
Batra, who has also represented India at the Fed Cup last year in the U-14 and U-18, said she was most comfortable playing her forehand shot something she had to really work hard on. "Earlier, I wasn't too good with my forehand but it has now become my favourite shot," said Batra who was the U-14 and U-18 champion here last year.
When asked if she could carry the good form to winning the title, Batra said without a pause: "I can win the tournament."
Batra next plays PA Sindhu Nila of Tamil Nadu who defeated Mokshada Jain of West Bengal 6-2, 6-0. Also, top seed Shalini Sahoo of Delhi beat Arantxa Andrady of Delhi 6-0, 6-1.