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My practice has paid off as I won many difficult games: Sara Saito

🔴 On Wednesday, in the round of 32 matches of the Aryan Pumps Asian Junior Tennis Championship, Saito proved to be a strong contender against local player Sonal Patil.

Written by Ruchika Goswamy | Pune |
Updated: December 9, 2021 7:04:00 am
My practice has paid off as I won many difficult games: Sara SaitoSara Saito

Since October, Japanese tennis player Sara Saito has been in the top form of her game. After her recent double crowns at the ITF Junior Grade-3 U-18 tennis Championships held in Croatia and earlier this week in Pune, the 15-year-old achieved her career-high ranking of 174.

On Wednesday, in the round of 32 matches of the Aryan Pumps Asian Junior Tennis Championship, Saito proved to be a strong contender against local player Sonal Patil. With a one-sided win of 6-2, 6-4, Saito secured her place in the quarter finals.

The matches, organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, were held at the Deccan Gymkhana tennis courts.

While Patil opened her account after winning the first game, the remainder of the match fell in favour of Saito. “Playing my opponent (Patil) was tough because she would rally for a long time. I can take a lot of initiative with the strokes. I can easily get points because I can play a lot on the net,” she said.

Training under coach Hayato Matsuda for the last four years, Saito said that while her strength lies in her development of the backhand, her area of work is more mental.

Saito also acknowledged that her coach, through his timely advice, helps her perform better. “In the pandemic, it was hard because I was just practising as there were not many matches. I got a sense of matches after a tournament back home. October onwards, I have been very happy that the results of my practice have come to fruition as I won many difficult games.”

Speaking about her home ground, Saito said that while tennis is a popular sport in Japan, it falls short in comparison to baseball, judo and football. Yet, her 11-year-old sister too has picked up the racquet. After the Asian Junior Tennis Championship, Saito said she will next be in action at the Australian Open Junior Championships.

Woobin Shin of Korea, Max Batyutenko of Kazakhstan and Indian players Nishant Dabas, Aman Dahiya, Chirag Duhan, Denim Yadav, Saheb Sodhi and Yuvan Nandal also secured their positions in the last eight.

Meanwhile, Shruti Ahlawat and Suhitha Maruri of India, alongside Kazakhstan’s Aruzhan Sagandikova, Sandugash Kenzhibayeva, Zhanel Rustemova, Yu-Yun Li of Taipei and Japan’s Hayu Kinoshita, made it to the quarter-final rounds.

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