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Players warm up in sweltering heat

The Asian Junior Tennis Championships kicked off in the Capital on Monday, and though the day's matches were played out in front of largely empty stands, from an organisational perspective, it was somewhat better than the last Commonwealth Games test event, reports Siddhanth Aney.

sports Updated: May 25, 2010 01:29 IST
Siddhanth Aney

The Asian Junior Tennis Championships kicked off in the Capital on Monday, and though the day's matches were played out in front of largely empty stands, from an organisational perspective, it was somewhat better than the last Commonwealth Games test event.

By all accounts, it was easier to get around the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association's RK Khanna Stadium. There was the usual sight of dust covering every square inch of space, but that is something expected at a venue that is still far from finished.

The police were better behaved, although they didn't believe that the rules they enforced, applied to them as well. On a sweltering day, spectators were not allowed to take in bottled drinks, but at least one policeman made himself comfortable, lighting a cigarette next to Court No. 3 visitors' gallery. The venue is, like all public places, a non-smoking venue and cigarettes aren't allowed.

That aside, it was a packed day of tennis. The top four seeds among boys and girls received first round byes, making Lin Zhu, the fifth seeded Chinese girl, the top seed in action on Monday. Zhu, with an ITF junior ranking of 111, had no trouble dispatching Zainab Ali Sajjad, 6-2, 6-3.

The Chinese are looking to dominate the boys section as well, fielding the top three seeds, including last week's finalists, Chuhan Wang (1) and Bowen Ouyang.

Seeded players had little difficulty in the girls' section. Seventh seed Rishika Sunkara, India's top seed in the fray, barely broke a sweat in her 6-0, 6-0 win over Vasundhara Raju.

Tenth seed Kyra Shroff, who made it to the finals of the ITF junior tournament in Delhi last week, continued her good run with a win over Ravnoor Kaur.

Looking at how miserable those watching the games were in the heat, it was hard to imagine what the players went through. Ninth seed Rakshay Thakkar from Pune, was perhaps one of the luckier ones, with his match scheduled for late evening. He beat Rithvik Anand comfortably. When asked about the venue, Thakkar was positive, " The new surface is really good. It is slower than most Indian surfaces, which is good for us, because surfaces abroad are slow as well."