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Dhakshineshwar, Salsa emerge new junior national champions

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A dogged Dhakshineshwar Suresh saved a match point in a tight final against Siddhant Banthia to emerge champion in the U-16 boys event while Salsa Aher hardly broke a sweat to claim the girls title in the Fenesta Open, the national tennis championship, here today.

The lanky Dhakshineshwar from prevailed 5-7 7-5 7-6(1) over his rival from in a gruelling summit clash that lasted two hours and 35 minutes at the DLTA Complex.

Left-handed Salsa of though hardly had to put up a fight as an out-of-sorts Prinkle capitulated to a 2-6 0-6 defeat in just 53 minutes.

Dhakshineshwar combined his cool and calm composure with his fiery ground-strokes to tame Banthia.

The boy showed a lot spark and hope for future with his victory over India's junior Davis Cupper and winner of United Kingdom's Under-14 national championship in 2014.

While Banthia was tremendous in his coverage and swift recovery to be ready for the next stroke, Dhakshineshwar, a class X student, stood out with his temperament. He never allowed pressure to seep in his game and kept fighting, taking it point by point.

"I don't think about winning or losing when I play. I just fight hard. I knew I can beat him," Dhakshineshwar, a class X student, said after the match.

Dhakshineshwar was down a set and a break but broke Banthia in the fourth game to make it 2-2 in the second set. Again after being up 40-0 in the seventh game, he dropped serve in the seventh to trail 3-4 but broke back immediately to make it 4-4.

It was a see-saw battle with the set littered with breaks. The tall player saved a breakpoint in the ninth and broke Banthia in the 12th to stretch the match to the deciding third set.

He broke Banthia in the second game to take a 3-0 lead but lost next three games and match was again on an even keel.

Banthia led 5-3 after breaking Dhakshineshwar in the seventh game and had a match point in the 10th game but the Tamil Nadu lad not only saved that point but broke his rival to make it 5-5.

Despite the weather being extremely hot, the two players showed tremendous stamina and never dropped the intensity.

Dhakshineshwar saved five breakpoints in a marathon 11th game, which he served out with an ace.

It was now Banthia who was facing match points as he served a double fault at 15-30 in the 12th game but managed to come out unscathed with good serves.

Eventually it was settled via tie-breaker in which the Tamil Nadu boy raced to a 5-1 lead. Banthia served another double fault to be down by a number of match points and hit a backhand to net to let Dhakshineshwar walk away with the win.

The Under-14 boys singles trophy was won by Haryana's Ajay Malik, who defeated VM Sandip from Tamil Nadu 6-4 6-4.

Punjab's Sarah Dev became the U-14 girls singles champion with a 6-1 4-6 6-3 win over Sharannaya Gware of

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 15 2016. 16:22 IST