IIt was finally against New Zealand that local lad Garvit Batra got a chance to play singles. Throughout the Junior Davis Cup Asia/Oceania final qualifying week, the 14-year-old had been slotted to play only two doubles.
On Friday morning at the DLTA, the India No. 3 made full use of the opportunity he had been given and thrashed Alexander Klintcharov 6-3, 6-1 in little over an hour to give India a 1-0 lead.
For the young boy, who began playing at the age of seven at the Rohini Sports Complex, his inspiration came from elder sister Ratnika, who had won gold in the National Games earlier this year. He has a busy schedule of playing over 25 tournaments a year and travels abroad too, in an effort to gain ranking points.
Currently training at the Sirifort Sports Complex under Aditya Sachdeva, the top-ranked under-14 player in the country, is trying hard to strengthen his single-handed backhand. Converting most of the backhands to forehands now, Batra hopes to condition his backhand as a lethal weapon soon. After all, his strong forehand is visible for all. A natural baseliner, he tries to keep all balls in play, forcing the opposition to make the error.
After Batra put India up, Shaik Abdullah stuck to what he knows best. His superb baseline game got him through the tough times and helped him overcome Cameron Norrie 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the second singles.
India will now be fighting for the 13th or 14th position against Sri Lanka. It must be stated that relegation depends upon the number of entries next year.