vijay goel

National championship: Vishnu Vardhan wins his fourth title

Vishnu Vardhan won the national singles title for the fourth time, while Riya Bhatia claimed her first title in the Fenesta National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Saturday.

Serving big and volleying with a touch of class whenever required, Vishnu tamed the wiry left-hander from Varanasi, Siddharth Vishwakarma 6-3, 6-4 in the men’s final.

The 29-year-old Vishnu, who has been competing regularly in the international circuit apart from the Asian Tour, with considerable success, was razor sharp with his game despite it being the eighth week of competition in a row for him.

‘’I owe it to my coach CV Nagaraj, trainer Mohammed Abdul Latheef, and my wife Sonia for supporting me so well’’, said Vishnu, who has won three ITF men’s singles titles this year.

Thanking his employer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for support, Vishnu said that he was happy to win the national title yet again, as the prize purse of Rs.300,000 would help him meet the expenses of competing in the international circuit.

Having secured his second national hard court title, with the two others being on grass, Vishnu thanked the organisers for the splendid event and promised to return next year to defend the title.

For the moment, he will fly to Tashkent for the $125,000 Challenger in which he has got a direct entry in the main draw.

Equally, it was a memorable experience for the 19-year-old Riya Bhatia, as she tamed Eetee Maheta 7-6(7), 6-3. The fighter in Riya was evident as she saved three setpoints in the tie-break from 3-6 to pocket the first set.

In the second, Riya reeled off the last three games quickly after Eetee had come up with a smart drop to be on par at 3-3. Even though it was Eetee who had better strokes, Riya was able to mix it up nicely and stay in the rallies longer despite her fragile temperament.

The national title was a considerable boost to Riya as she had recently won her maiden ITF women’s singles title in Egypt. The happy tidings strengthened her resolve to work better on her game, with training stints in Germany.

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