|Saturday, 15 February 2003|
Emmanuel and S. Nishendran play clever tennis
by Dinesh Weerawansa
Sri Lanka's Franklyn Emmanuel and S. Nishendran played some clever tennis to shock the top seeded Indian duo of Jitin Bishnoi and Chatwinder to enter the Boys Doubles final as hosts Sri Lanka enjoyed mixed fortunes on day five of the 20th International Tennis Federation Junior International Championship continued at the National Tennis Centre courts yesterday
Franklyn Emmanuel and S Nishendran won their semi-final to enter today's Boys doubles final while fellow team mates Amrit Rupasinghe and Oshada Wijemanne lost their respective boys singles semi-final matches played yesterday.
Boys from the host nation emerged victorious in both the Boys doubles semi-finals to make it home and home affair in the final to be worked off from 3 p.m. today. Emmanuel and Nishendran did well to bounce back after losing the second set to finally topple the No. 1 seed Indian combination of Bishnoi and Singh in an exciting two-hour long semi-final - 6-1,1-6,6-4.
Both pairs held their serves in the crucial third set before the Lankan duo of Emmanuel and Nishenderan, leading 5/4, broke the Indians' serve in the tenth game to take the set and with it to warp up the match. In comparison, the other Sri Lankan pair of Amrit Rupasinghe and Harshana Godamanne had a relatively comfortable passage in overcoming Japan's Tsubasa Murizane and Ryo Sekiguchi, 7/6(2), 6/2 in the second semi-final of the Boys doubles event.
Sri Lanka's hopes of a place in the Boys singles were finally shattered after yesterday's semi-finals in which both the locals made sad exits. Oshada Wijemanne could not offer much against fancied Indian opponent in the first Boys singles semi-final in going down to Chatwinder Singh in straight sets 2-6, 3-6.
However, Amrit Rupasinghe put up a gallant show before losing the second Boys singles semi-final to bottom seed, Tsubasa Morizane of Japan, after a three-setter. Rupasinghe, a 15-year-old student from St. Thomas Prep School, Kollupitiya, provided early shocks to the Japanese No.2 seed and wonnthe won the first set comfortably 6-2. But his joy was short lived as Morizane charged his batteries and launched a fresh attack to win the next two sets and a place in today's final. The victory margin of the Japanese finally read at 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Amrit Rupasinghe who won the under 18 ITF title in Colombo last year was looking to add a second one here. But his opponent had the experience to cope successfully after conceding the first set and Rupasinghe didn't when his chips were down.
"It is unfortunate that he couldn't continue with the form that he displayed in the first set during which he showed good form.
But he didn't have the experience of his Japanese opponent who is two years his senior and 100 places higher than Amrit in the ITF world ranking list. Obviously he has played in more tournaments than Amrit," said coach Arul Amalnathan. Rupasinghe is ranked 386 and Morizane, 286 in the ITF world junior rankings.
In the girls' single final, third seed I-Hsuan Hwang of Taipei continued to provide the upsets defeating second seed Vandana Murali of India, 6/3,6/2. Hwang had accounted for the top seed Marutha Devi in semifinal, 6/2,6/3. The chunky Hwang's power strokes proved too much for Murali, turning the match into a one sided final.
Today is the final day of the week-long tournament hosted by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association on behalf of the International Tennis Federation.
Produced by Lake House