$10,000 Bangalore - singles finalists
Last weeks $10,000 Bangalore tournament saw the doubles final contested by the No. 2 seeded Indian pairing of Isha Lakhani & Poojashree Venkatesha who took on Moe Kawatoko (JPN) & Kumari-Sweta Solanki (IND) for the title in what turned out to be a rather one-sided affair. Having lost the opening game, the seeded duo’s combined effort saw them take the next five games in a row to open up a commanding 5-1 lead with Lakhani producing some scintillating shots. Though Solanki and Kawatoko tried to mount a comeback by taking the next three games, Solanki’s serve was again broken in the tenth game as Lakhani hit a winner to take the first set 6:4. In the second set, with both teams tied at 2-all, Venkatesha and Lakhani took charge of the net as Kawatoko’s net game fell apart and won the next three games to lead 5:2 and the brink of victory. Solanki, now serving to keep her team in the match, saved one match point and eventually won her service game. This only delayed their defeat as the Indian pair wrapped up a straight sets victory, 6:4 6:3, with Lakhani once again closing out the set and with it the match when, unfortunately, Kawatoko touched the net at match point.
The trophies were presented to the players by Ms. Pushpam Appalanaidu – MD QuestNet India, the title sponsors of the tournament and Mr. Sunder Raju – Hon’ble Secretary, KSLTA.
The next day, with Mr. R Ashok, the Hon’ble Minister for Transport, in attendance, the Singles final saw two teens clash in an effort to take home the winner’s trophy. Spectators turning up to witness this battle for the title, between the top seed, 19-year old Poojashree Venkatesha playing in her fourth career singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit, and 7th seed, 18-year old Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic playing in her first final, were expecting a nail biting finish to the tournament and the start proved their expectations true. Despite being down a break at 2:1, Venkatesha fought back to lead the first set 4:3. From here she took the next two games and the first set. In the second set, Jakupovic appeared to lose her composure as well as her first service game to trail 0:1. Jakupovic immediately broke back with a number of winners then with the match tied at 3:3, Venkatesha took charge of this final and broke her opponent to lead 4:3. Jakupovic again seemed to lose her cool and she was one more broken in the ninth game, losing the set and with it, the match. Venkatesha’s 6:3 6:3 victory saw her adding the singles title to her doubles title won the previous day.
Following the match, Venkatesha, speaking during the presentation ceremony, commented, “I’m happy to win my third title at this level and it was great playing at home and for the crowd support today. Dalila was a tough player and she helped me raise my game. Winning a double at home makes this even more sweeter.”
Mr. R Ashok and Ms. Pushpam Appalanaidu, MD QuestNet India, in the presence of Mr. Laxminarayana, the Secretary to the Chief Minister, R. sunder Raju, the Hon’ble Secretary KSLTA and Mr. Sunil Yajaman, the Tournament Director and Director Zygo Sports, presented the players with their trophies and prize money cheques.