Women’s top seed Zeel Desai brushed aside the challenge of Harshita Chugh without fuss but men’s top seed Suraj Prabodh faced stiff resistance before prevailing over Ansu Kumar Bhuyan on the opening day of the Fenesta National Tennis championship, in New Delhi on Monday.
Zeel dispatched Harshita 6-2, 6-0 in a lop-sided women’s singles first round but Prabodh had to dig deep into his reserves to beat Bhuyan 7-6(3) 3-6, 6-3 in his men’s singles first round.
The seeded players in the men’s singles draw had a tough time as fifth seed Prajwal SD Dev was ousted by Manish Sureshkumar 6-3 6-4.
On court number six, eighth seed Faisal Qamar managed to subdue talented Dhakshineshwar Suresh 7-6(3) 6-4 to make it to the second round.
Dhakshineshwar, who won the Under-16 championship last year, gifted away easy points and also struggled to contain his unforced errors. The lanky player from Chennai plays much better than what he put on display today. Faisal, on the other hand, remained calm and grabbed his chances to advance.
“I could not place the ball where I wanted to today. I could not practice yesterday and today since there no courts, it affected me a bit. I could not feel the ball,” said Dhakshineshwar, who trains at Four Slam Tennis Academy in Barcelona with the support of Tamil Nadu Tennis Association.
Faisal had broken the Chennai boy in the third game to take easly lead but Dhakshineshwar fought back and broke the his rival from Jaipur in the eighth to level the score 4-4.
Eventually, the set was decided via tie-breaker in which Faisal hit a stunning backhand winner to go up 6-3 and sealed it with an overhead volley winner. In the second set too, it was close affair with two players locked 4-4. Dhakshineshwar unending unforced errors put himn down by two breakpoinnts.
He saved the first but sent netted another backhand on the second to hand advatntage to Faisal, who served out the match in the next. Interestingly, Faisal, trained by his father Quamaruddin Khan in Jaipur also has his younger siblings competing in the Nationals.
Faisal, who also represents India Navy, had beaten Dhakshineshwar last year in the Under 18 event as well. Indian Navy coach Shah Rukh Khan said they have allowed Faisal train under his father in Jaipur since he is producing ‘desired results’.
Faisal’s younger brother Fardeen Qumar advanced to the second round of the Under-18 Boys singles event with a 7-5 6-0 win over Deepak Senthil Kumar.
Fardeen was down 3-5 in the opening set but reeled off 10 straight games to clinch the issue. “I had twisted my ankle a bit but I could gather myself and his staimna was also not great and it helped me,” said Fardeen.
Faisal’s 14-year-old sister Farhat Aleen Qamar was crusing when she won the first set without losing a single game but a stomach bug out her down and she lost 6-0, 0-6, 4-6 to Vidula Reddy.
Farhat said she maybe only 14 but she won’t compete in the Under 16 event since her father wants her to play only with ‘big girls’.
Meanwhile, in the battle of veterans, 43-year-old Nitin Kirrtane defeated Vijay Kannan 6-3 3-6 7-5 in his opening round.
Men’s Singles: Kunal Anand (Seed 3) bt Ishaque Eqbal (WB) 6-3, 6-2 Dalwinder Singh (Seed 4)(PB) bt Paras Dahiya (HR) 0-6, 6-2, 6-4; Faisal Qamar (RJ) bt Dakshineshwar Suresh (TN) 7-6(3),6-4; Jayesh Pungliya bt Digvijay Singh Mehta 6-3 6-2 Manish Sureshkumar bt Prajwal D Dev (Seed 5) 6-3 6-4
Women’s Singles: Zeel Desai (Seed 1) bt Harshita Chugh 6-2 6-0; Shreya Gulia bt Prakriti Banwani 6-3 6-2; Shweta Rana bt Sindhu Janagam 6-3 6-3; Bhuvana Kalva bt Shruti Gupta 6-1, 6-0; Yubrani Banerjee bt Smriti Singh 6-1,6-1.