Seasoned campaigner Sharmada Balu tore the form book to shreds as she used her tons of experience and cunning to outlast third seed Sravya Shivani Chilakalapudi 5-7, 6-1, (2-0 retd) to enter the quarter-finals of the Fenesta Open National tennis championship.
To say this is a dream run for Sharmada is stating the obvious. Sharmada, the 28-year-old girl with plenty of experience in her bag, played with tenacity and did not lose heart after losing a close first set.
In the second set, she was on song, tearing up her opponent with slick play on the synthetic surface at the DLTA complex on Wednesday. She won the second set 6-1 and led 2-0 in the decider. That was the time Sravya decided to throw in the towel.
From the hard grind of playing the qualifiers to making it to the quarter-finals has been a fairytale run for Sharmada Balu.
Second seed Vaidehi Chuadhari showed good court craft and skills in quelling the challenge from Farhat Aleen Qamar. Vadehi won 6-4, 6-1 in the second round. “It was a great match today against Aleen. She is a fighter. The first set was very tough but I kept it going and did it," said Vaidehi later.
Fourth seed Samhitha Sai Chamarthi outgunned Sudipta Senthil Kumar 6-2, 6-3, again in the second round. '''It was a nice game and I won 6-2, 6-3. She also played some good points but I kept my focus and was able to pull through today," said Samhitha.
Fifth seed Rashmikaa Shrivalli Bhamidpaty was also in the comfort zone as she got past Nidhi Chilumala 6-2, 6-2.
“Today was a really good match because I played with one of the former top players from India. It was an amazing match today and I’m in good form. I think I can play well in the next round too. The Fenesta Open has been really nice and coming back to this place is always a really good experience. It is fun to be back and the tournament is run so well," said Rashmikaa.
Top seed Zeel Desai beat Shreya Tatavarthy 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. “In today’s match I didn’t play that well but I found a way so I did a good job there and also my opponent play really good today. Look forward to tomorrow’s match,” said Zeel.
Eighth seed Prajwal SD Dev won a big match against former seasoned star VM Ranjeet. Prajwal knew he had to be at his best against a player whose experience was a big plus. In the first set, a fitter Prajwal was in top gear and faced some resistance in the second set before winning 6-0, 6-4.
“The first set was pretty good for me. In the second set, it went pretty close but I managed to pull it back and win. Even though it was a straight set win, it was pretty long, I have to recover and get ready for the doubles," said Prajwal.
Top seed Nikki K Poonacha fine-tuned his game to a nicety as he got past Faisal Qamar for a 6-4, 6-3 win to enter the quarter-finals. “Overall, it was a good game, he (my opponent) is a very good player and I respect him," said Nikki.
Rishi Reddy caused a minor upset as he beat fifth seed Abhinav S Sanjeev 6-, 7-6 (7/3) for a quarter-final berth. The tie-break was a bit of a lottery but Rishi was solid in his approach.
“It was a good close match. The first set wasn’t as close as the second set. I am happy I could hustle my opponent as he has a good serve," said Rishi.
Results at 4:45 pm
Mens Singles Main Draw (Second Round)
Nikki K Poonacha (seeded 1) bt Faisal Qamar 6-4, 6-3; Prajwal S D Dev (seeded 8) bt Ranjeet Virali Murugesan 6-0, 6-4; Rishi Reddy bt Abhinav S Sanjeev (seeded 5) 6-3, 7-6(3); Nitin Kumar Sinha (seeded 3) bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-4, 6-1; Siddharth Vishwakarma bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-4, 7-6(2); Paras Dahiya (seeded 4) bt Fardeen Qumar 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; Digvijay Pratap Singh bt Dalwinder Singh (seeded 7) 7-6(4), 6-4; Prithvi Sekhar (seeded 6) bt Jatin Dahiya 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Womens Singles Main Draw (Second Round)
Vaidehi Chaudhari (seeded 2) bt Farhat Aleen Qamar 6-4, 6-1; Sharmada Balu bt Sravya Shivani Chilakalapudi (seeded 3) 5-7, 6-1, 2-0 (Ret.); Rashmikaa Shrivalli Bhamidpaty (seeded 5) bt Nidhi Chilumala 6-2, 6-2; Samhitha Sai Chamarthi (seeded 4) bt Sudipta Senthil Kumar 6-2, 6-3; Akanksha Nitture bt Smriti Bhasin 6-4, 6-1; Vanshita Pathania bt Jagmeet Kaur 6-4, 6-3; Zeel Desai (seeded 1) bt Shreya Tatavarthy 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
Mens Doubles Main Draw Quarter Finals
Ajay Malik/ Karan Singh bt Adil Kalyanpur (seeded 2)/ Rishi Reddy 7-6(6), 6-4
Womens Doubles Main Draw Quarter Finals
Yubrani Banerjee (seeded 2)/ Rishika Sunkara bt Ayushi Singh/ Medhavi Singh 6-3, 6-1; Sharmada Balu/ Sravya Shivani Chilakalapudi (seeded 3) bt Avishka Gupta/ Pratibha Prasad Narayan 6-1, 6-1; Vaidehi Chaudhari/ Mihika Yadav bt Ishwari Anant Matere/ Aarthi Muniyan 6-4, 6-1