Haryanas Krishan Hooda clinched his maiden national crown when he rallied his way past Punjab rival Dhruv Tangri in three hard-fought sets in the boys' final of the 13th Ramesh Desai Memorial Under-16 Tennis Nationals here Saturday.
Weathering hot conditions at the Cricket Club of India, Chandigarh-based Hooda, seeded fifth, carved out a 3-6 6-1 6-4 victory over his Ahmedabad-based rival who was the fourth seed in the tournament to lift the boys' singles crown.
Top-seeded Sanjana Sirimalla of Telangana, the India number one in the age group, also clinched her maiden national title by outclassing Haryana's Renne Singla, the seventh seed from Gurgaon, 6-3 6-1.
Hooda, who lost the opening game after being broken in the eighth game to concede a 3-5 lead, fought back brilliantly in the second which he clinched with the help of two breaks of serve in the 4th and 6th games.
Hooda, who is from Rohtak but trains at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, and Tangri traded breaks in the initial stages of the final set and fought tooth and nail from then on.
Hooda, who had shocked second seed Chirag Duhan in the semifinals, then got the all-important break in the 9th game to go 5-4 up, fought back from 0-30, when serving for the crown, to 30-all and then took the last two points with attacking play.
"Last year I had lost in the pre quarters here and I am happy to win the title in my last year in this age group," said Hooda whose head to head record against Tangri now stands at 4-2.
The girls' final was a tame affair in which the Hyderabad-born Sanjana, from Sanjay Tennis Academy, was too good for her lower ranked rival in 90 minutes.
Last year the 5-foot 9-inch tall Sanjana, who idolizes Novak Djokovic because of his game style and is a tenth standard school student, had lost in the quarter finals.
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