This Tournament was a see-saw of events for the Tams(Tennis And More Sporting) boys, the top half of the boys draw was loaded with a strong contingent of tams guys…Out of the top 8 seeds four seeds were from Tams and three were in the top half of the draw..
The tournament began with the same fanfare and proceeded till the pre-quarters (round of 16) without much of a heart burn. The first causality from Tams was Madhavan (seed 4) who lost to in-form Rajesh Kannan. Then Arjun Sriram (Top Seed) from Tams had to play Rohan Arun who is also from Tams and is a student of Gear Foundation school. Rohan’s performance was excellent throughout the season; he was coming into the prequarter with an excellent win against the seeded & experienced Abeer Dubey. The match started out with a tight competition with both boys trading blows and games before couple of line calls went against Rohan and thus resulted in his loss of focus which got him derailed. Rohan lost a hard fought match but was soon to say that his loss of focus on the line calls was the event that triggered the result against his favor, A lesson learnt at the end but with a price….
Top Seed Arjun had to play Adarsh Arun (also from TAMS). Adarsh had an outstanding win in the previous round against Nikhil Niranjan, after trailing 0-4, he pulled himself to beat Nikhil 8-6. Adarsh was quick to finish the first set with just 2 unforced errors and later vanquished a fighting Arjun to win the match and thus entering the semi-finals
ENTER third seed Sandesh Kantimahanti student of TAMS & Gear Foundation School, his Quarters was lined up with Deepak A. Big hitting Deepak can create a buzz whenever & wherever he plays and he did just that against Sandesh, he ran away to a 3-0 lead in the first set before Sandesh found his form & his winning ways to take the 1st set 5-4(tie breaker score 7-4)and then the next set at 4-0, with that the match..
Our Excitement at Tams was hanging in a balance, excited coz 2 of the 4 semifinalists were from TAMS but then they were to play each other in the Semi’s.
The match started with the in-form Adarsh racing to a 2-0 lead, it was after that our very own master of comebacks woke up and pitched in a heavy duel, Sandesh took the 1st set without even blinking twice at 6-2 after being down 0-2.. The second set raced to a 5-2 lead in Sandesh’s favor but Adarsh mounted a huge late fight to level the 2nd set at 5-5, not long before it went down to the wire at 6-6 and the Tie Breaker(race to 7 points with a difference of 2 points). Sandesh showed some brilliant consistency which saw him win the tiebreaker, the set and the match.
Finals is always a nerve wrecker even for some seasoned Pro’s, Now imagine Sandesh all of eleven years, playing his first Under 12 Nationals. Not only was he on the line but his entire support team right from his Driver, to the tennis Academy watch-man to the manager, his On-court Hitter to the Ball Feeder, the parents (with his dad on a flight to the US) and his coach(That’s me, my patience is legendary as most of you who is reading this should already be aware of). I had to be there to see for myself how it will unfold.
The Finals was against the Heavy hitting Sharaniyan. The match went even in the 1st set before Sharaniyan had a set point at 5-4. An unforced error from him saw Sandesh level the 1st set at 5-5 and then the set went into a tie breaker. Sandesh kept his cool and took the tie breaker at 7-2, with that the 1st set. The 2nd set was bull dozed by Sharaniyan with him racing to a 3-0 lead, again our master of comebacks caught up to make it 2-3, but even before we could sigh a relief he lost the next game to be down 2-4. Sandesh realized this was it.. he came up with a string of great shots to win the next 4 games in a row and with that he wrapped up his 2nd set and the match. His first Nationals title.. He truly deserved it for the amount of effort he pumped in for the last 2 years…. Kudos to his hard work. Keep it up boy…