Photo: Sunil YajamanTorsten Wietoska (GER)
BELGAUM, INDIA: The stage is set for the grand finale of the ITF Belgaum Open at the VTU Tennis Complex between two players who seem to be playing their best tennis at the end of three grueling weeks in Karnataka. Sixth seed Michael Shabaz from USA and the qualifier from Germany Torsten Wietoska will lock horns for the crown.
Top seed Sriram Balaji’s run was stopped by the American in their semifinal clash whilst the unseeded qualifier continued his dream run in Karnataka with victory over the impressive Andre Gaspar Murta in the other semi.
Shabaz took little over one hour to dispose of his top seeded opponent 62 75. Balaji was able to hold his serve only twice in the first set but got broken in the third and ninth games to let the first set go at in 35mins. The second set began with Shabaz breaking Balaji in the first game. Balaji held break points only in the sixth game of the second set when Shabaz was serving at 0-40 but the American then sent down four aces to hold the game.
Balaji tried hard to stay in the match by breaking Shabaz in the ninth game but a poor eleventh game was littered with weak serves costing him the game without winning a point before Shabaz served out the match. The rallies were long but for the most part it appeared Shabaz had the upper hand with the fitness levels of both players proving a major factor.
In the second semifinal of the day, German Torsten Wietoska continued his fine run to reach his first career singles final and end a run of successive semifinal defeats in recent weeks.
In a closely fought match the German stopped the impressive run of the tournament’s giant killer Andre Gaspar Murta of Portugal in two tie break sets. A match that saw hard hitting shots and long rallies lasted just over two hours. The first set was close until the tie break but Wietoska raised his game to claim the win with loss of just three points.
There was a service break for each in the first set but the second set didn’t have any and the German won another tie break, this time with a loss of five points. Wietoska, who came through the qualifying rounds, had earlier reached semifinals at Davangere where he lost to eventual winner Sanam Singh and at Dharwad where he lost a close match to Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Following his win Wietoska said: “It’s been a great tour and I’m enjoying the Karnataka circuit. It was a tough match and Murta played very well. I’m looking for a good match tomorrow in the finals. Shabaz is a good player and I need to recover well today to play my best which I’m hoping to.”
Schedule for Sat, 22 Dec, 2012:
Starting at 11.00 am
(6) Michael Shabaz (USA) vs (Q) Torsten Wietoska (GER)