Though there is a sea of difference between their official ITF rankings written next to their names on the draw sheet of the Asian Closed Junior Tennis Championships,the first round match-up between Ambika Pande and second seed Ratnika Batra had the promise of an exciting clash. Partly because after Ambika won back-to-back international tournaments last year,it would be interesting to see how she holds herself against fellow Delhi player Ratnika,who is ranked 55 in the world.
But,despite looking fitter and covering the court well,Ambika just couldnt push her opponent enough on her home courts at the RK Khanna stadium. Her groundstrokes were good enough to challenge Ratnika but after longer rallies,she would end up hitting the ball wide or into the net. With more winners from Ratnika,within a blink she raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set before Ambika could hold her serve for the first time and show a glimmer of a fightback by breaking Ratnika in the next game. However,she could not continue with that momentum and lost 6-2 6-1.
Delhi junior Gary Tokas,who like Pande is also coached by Vishal Uppal lost his match to the boys second seed with the same scoreline on the same court before the girls. Tokas,who had had a great run last week at the Indore ITF,reaching the quarterfinal stage and even the week before that making the final 16 in Qatar,ran out of luck this time. Though he had upset the higher ranked players in those tournaments,he couldnt keep the pace up against Koreas Junior Davis Cupper Jae Hwan Kim.
A far more surprising loss was however of Hyderabads Bhuvana Kalva. With her consistent rise each year,and two singles ITF titles late last year,Kalva had been coming up as one of the most promising junior girls and is among the top-4 Indian girls in the international rankings. But on Monday,she went down with only one game against her name against an opponent who was ranked almost twice behind her 165th spot. Rutuja Bhosale,who played the Fed Cup this year and went to the Australian Open juniors will play her first round on Tuesday against a qualifier.
Results: Boys singles: Chayanon Kaewsuto (THA) bt Andy Lau (HKG) 7-5 7-6(5),Amirvala Madanchi (IRI) bt Tarun Nath Surath 6-3 6-1,Dukyoung Kim (KOR) bt 8-Kazuma Kawachi (JPN),6-7(6) 6-4 7-5,4-Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul bt Weiqiang Zheng (CHN) 7-6(6) 7-5,5-Ku Keon Kang (KOR) bt Rajanvir Singh Dharni 6-2 6-2,6-Krittin Koaykul (THA) bt Karan Salwan 6-1 6-4,Chun Hun Wong (HKG) bt Vinod Gowda 7-5 6-2,3-Temur Ismailov (UZB) bt Takashi Saito 6-3 6-2 (JPN),7-Rishab Agarwal (IND) bt Pak Long Yeung (HKG) 6-3 7-6(3),Fajing Sun (CHN) bt Naoki Nakagawa (JPN) 1-6 6-2 6-4,Ronit Singh Bisht (IND) bt Teeradon Tortrakul (THA) 7-6(3) 6-2,2-Jae Hwan Kim (KOR) bt Garry Tokas 6-2 6-1.