Excelsior Sports Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 5: Qualifier Prinkle Singh thrived under pressure, survived two match points to beat seventh seed and Asian junior champion Mihika Yadav by 6-3, 3-6 and 7-6 in the women’s first round of the Fenesta National Tennis Championship at the DLTA Complex at Delhi.
The 16-year-old Prinkle recovered from being down 1-4 in the decider but missed two match points on Mihika’s serve in the tenth game. She saved two match points later in the tie-break at 4-6, before Mihika brought the curtains down on her challenge with a double fault.
Coach Rishi Sachdeva of Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) was proud of the way Prinkle handled a quality player with remarkable composure, despite the swings in fortune.
The hard earned victory in two hours and 38 minutes, could possibly mean a quarterfinal entry in the women’s event for Prinkle, as her opponent Yubarani Banerjee tore an ankle ligament during her junior match and writhed in pain on court, with cries of pain that shook the complex.
Yubarani was able to walk later, but the physio would be able to advise her on the morrow whether she could risk playing.
Quite interestingly, the AITA rules do not allow a junior player to compete that week after retiring from a match, but the women’s event is being played under the ITF rules which have no such restriction.
In another interesting women’s match, fourth seed Nithya Raj recovered from being down 0-6, 1-4 to beat qualifier Akshara Iska 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. Qualifier Humera Shaikh bounced back after losing the first set to beat Neeru Rapria.
Former men’s champion Mohit Mayur was in explosive form with his big serves and intimidating forehand as he outclassed qualifier Anirudh Chandrasekar to set up a second round against third seed Kunal Anand.
Asian junior champion Nitin Kumar Sinha overcame a slow start to beat PC Vignesh in three sets that spanned two hours and 40 minutes. In another intense battle, qualifier Calvin Golmei beat Shaikh Abdullah in three sets.
Two-time runner-up and title favourite, Arjun Kadhe was too good for sixth seed Jatin Dahiya, who had made the national grass court quarterfinals.