Pune boy Banthia seals Asian junior tennis championship
In the first set, Banthia just allowed his opponent to win one game in seven, breaking his service on remarkable three occasions. In his very first service game in the match, Fomin felt it very difficult to hold his serve, with Banthia taking full advantage of the pacey courts.Updated: Oct 28, 2018 16:51 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Indian junior number one and fourth seed Siddhant Banthia cruised past Sergey Fomin 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the at the 2nd edition of the HCL Asian B1 junior tennis championship hosted by leading global conglomerate HCL organized by the Maharashtra state lawn tennis association (MSLTA) and Pune metropolitan district tennis association (PMDTA) under the auspices of the international tennis federation (ITF), Asian tennis Federation (ATF) and all India tennis association (AITA ) at the Deccan gymkhana on Saturday. The 18-year-old was undoubtedly the better player since the opening game and his performance merited a dominating victory.
In the first set, Banthia just allowed his opponent to win one game in seven, breaking his service on remarkable three occasions. In his very first service game in the match, Fomin felt it very difficult to hold his serve, with Banthia taking full advantage of the pacey courts.
The second set began in stark contrast to the first as the second seed looked rejuvenated, ready to mount a comeback. Unlike in the first, where he looked shaky during his service holds, the Uzbekistani confidently held his serve in his first three service games before being broken by Banthia to give the Indian a 4-3 lead. However, Fomin quickly broke his opponent’s serve to make it 4-4 but in failing to win the following service game, the second seed handed the match to the Indian number one.
Banthia seemed to have picked up his game in the semi-final and final of the tournament as he toppled the top two seeds en route to lifting the elusive Asian junior championship crown. In winning the tournament, the Pune boy ensured that a mammoth 280 ITF points were added to his kitty – which will in turn do wonders to his continental ranking.
In the girls final, the third seeded Mananchaya Sawangkaew from Thailand registered a straight sets victory over Indonesian Priska Madelyn. Sawangkaew went into the finale as the favourite and lived up to her billing by winning the contest by a 7-6(5), 6-3 scoreline.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Sundar Mahalingam, chief strategy officer, HCL corporation and Shiv nadar foundation said, “Today, the stars of Indian tennis are making the country proud at the international level. It is important that we nurture the next generation of players to sustain this momentum. Over the last several years, HCL has undertaken a number of initiatives that are aimed at creating platforms for gifted young players to compete with the best and improve their overall game, right on their home turf. I hope that some of these players will go on to make a mark in international tennis in the future.”
Siddhant Banthia: “To be honest, I was not expecting the game to be this easy. I’ve known the player from our matches on the tour and he’s also a good friend. This helped me gauge the situation and learn about his game going into the match and watching him on Friday also was a learning experience for me. What gave me an advantage was that I served very well. The courts here at Deccan gymkhana are faster than the normal hard courts around the world so having a good serve is very important.”
Siddhant Banthia made the most of the fast surface as he played the game on his terms throughout the first set which set the template for the rest of the contest. Having the advantage of training regularly at the Deccan gymkhana, the Pune boy knew exactly how the surface plays and he took utmost advantage of it and managed to win the final in straight sets.
First Published: Oct 28, 2018 14:35 IST