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All India final in girls tennis at Afro-Asian Games

Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthy scored contrasting wins in the to set up a summit clash in the women's tennis singles event.

tennis Updated: Oct 29, 2003 16:38 IST

Teen sensation Sania Mirza and her senior Rushmi Chakravarthy scored contrasting wins in the semifinals to set up an all-India summit clash in the women's singles event of the tennis competition in the inaugural Afro Asian Games here on Wednesday.

Sania overcame initial hiccups to defeat Czarina Arevalo of Phillipines rather easily 6-4 6-1 while Rushmi quelled a strong fightback by Indonesia's Sandy Gumulya 6-3 2-6 6-3 to assure India of a gold and silver each.

The 16-year old Sania, the Wimbledon girls doubles champion, put up a below par performance in the first set as she struggled to hold her serve on many occasions besides having difficulty with her most potent forehand shots.

But she tightened her game in the second set to notch up a straight set victory.

Sania's rival managed to put up a semblance of fight in the first set. But she made a lot of unforced errors and costly double faults on crucial points as the match turned out to be a one-sided affair in the end.

Sania, who moved into the semis with a 6-1 6-0 thrashing of Zimbabwe's Fadzai Mawisire, began well holding her serve in the first game and broke Czarina in the next, but found herself in trouble at 0-40 in the third as her opponent came up with some good returns to break her serve.

From there on the rivals traded breaks till the Filipino held her serve in the eighth and Sania in the ninth to go up 5-4. Sania held three set points in the next game and clinched it with her rival hitting her forehand long at 0-40.

Improving her game, Sania broke Czarina in the second game of the second set and held her serves comfortably to go up 4-1. She had another break in the very next game before finishing in style with good deep serves in the seventh.

"The first set was pretty tough. But I am happy with the win. It was a good practice match for the final," said Sania after the match.

On the final clash with Rushmi, her doubles partner, the Hyderabad girl said "We have played a couple of matches (as rivals). Anything may happen," she said while admitting she needed to work on her first serves.

Rushmi and Gumulya also traded breaks in the first set till the seventh game and the Indian held her serve in the eighth before breaking Gumulya in the next to take the set.

Gumulya, who troubled Sania in the women's team final event by tossing up the ball, stuck to the same game plan against Rushmi in the second set, upsetting her rhythm.

The Indonesian raised her game and broke Rushmi in the third and seventh games to take the set comfortably, forcing the match to the decider.

However, in the decider she ran out of steam as Rushmi came back strongly and took a 5-0 lead with breaks in the second and fourth games.

However, stepping on the pedal at the right time, Rushmi won the match with a good service game.

"It was a good match. In the second set, the Indonesian kept looping the ball and that slowed down my pace," the 26-year old Rushmi said.

First Published: Oct 29, 2003 16:38 IST