While other quarterfinal clashes at the Fenesta Open Tennis Championship were painfully lop-sided,the last match of the day featured a competitive display between upcoming teenagers Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash and Arjun Kadhe. With a gallery of high profile and vociferous support for Jayaprakash,including Tamil Nadu Tennis Association Vice President Karti P Chidambaram,Kadhe started as the underdog but eventually won 7-5 6-4. Both players served well — as many as five aces were hit by Kadhe in the last game of the first set — but mental fragility became Jayaprakash’s undoing as he got broken thrice in a row despite having set points in the opening set.
It was Jayaprakash who ran away with the early lead,breaking the Pune player in the 8th game but 18-year-old Kadhe came back to win four games in a row,with the last one becoming a defensive slug fest with him needing seven set points on his serve to close out the opener. Having lost momentum,Jayaprakash got broken in the opening game of the second as well and Khade gave him no scope to come back later with some elegant volleys and consistent high-quality serving. Towards the end Mohit was so frustrated with his unforced errors that when the umpire called ‘out’ at a long ball,he reacted,saying,” everything I’m hitting is going out!”
With constant shrieks of vamos and allez,the two players grooming abroad was quite evident. Kadhe,who played all the junior Grand Slams this year,also brushed shoulders with world number 5 David Ferrer this summer during training at the Spaniard’s academy in Valencia. On Friday in the semifinals,he meets his fourth straight Tamil Nadu opponent at the nationals when he faces Ramkumar Ramanathan,who also trains in Spain.
“I was a bit unnerved initially with the kind of support he had today but I tried to take it positively. I was happy with my movement as well as I could come in to the net successfully and put pressure on him and it eventually became a mental thing,” Kadhe who is coached by Hemant Bendre,said.