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HometennisRashmikaa's zeal too much for Zeel

Rashmikaa's zeal too much for Zeel

Bengaluru: Rashmikaa Shrivalli Bhamidipaty was crowned champion of the ITF Women’s World Tour event with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win over Zeel Desai in an all-Indian final at Bowring Institute on Sunday.

With this victory, Rashmikaa bagged her first ITF title to stud an impressive breakthrough year, walking away with a winner’s cheque of USD 3935 and 50 WTA points. Runner-up Zeel had to settle forUSD 2107 and 30 WTA points.

It was a blazing start from Rashmikaa, who began with intent and took the fight to Zeel. The hard-hitting 21-year-old did not let Zeel settle, and immediately put the squeeze on with a double break.

Zeel had no answers to Rashmikaa’s mix of strong serves and immaculate shot placement, and the dominant Rashmikaa went on to bag the first set 6-0.

But Zeel, who has always found a way to bounce back from adverse situations throughout the tournament, showed her mettle once again to break Rashmikaa’s opening game in the second set. A versatile Zeel was solid in both attack and defence, and closed out the second set 6-4.

Just as the wind picked up, Rashmikaa sensed her opportunity to sneak ahead. By using extra whip on her forehands, Rashmikaa secured the all-important break in the decider and raced ahead to a 3-0 lead.

Rashmikaa then began constructing some wonderful points together as the crowd egged both the players on. Three aces saw Rashmikaa 5-3 up and Zeel scrambling for answers. A long backhand from Zeel handed Rashmikaa the win, and she let out a shriek of joy.

"I did a great job and held my nerve better. I was up for a challenge. Zeel is a really good player and is known to make good comebacks. I kept my calm and worked point-by-point," Rashmikaa said after her win.

"It encourages a lot of women players to take up this sport. A lot of juniors will start believing that they can make it big. This is just a stepping stone, but having two Indians in the final was massive boost," added Rashmikaa.

Result: Final: Rashmikaa Shrivalli Bhamidipaty bt Zeel Desai 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

(Published 26 November 2023, 15:09 IST)

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