BENGALURU: Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty graduated from being a National champion to an international champion when she annexed her maiden ITF title with the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour honours defeating Zeel Desai.
In a pulsating final attended by a full house crowd at the Bowring Institute courts here on Sunday, Rashmikaa dropped a set before emerging a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 winner.
Rashmikaa took home the winner’s cheque of US $ 3935 but more importantly pocketed 50 WTA points which could help her surge in the WTA rankings. Zeel won US $ 2107 and 30 WTA points for her bridesmaid finish.
“It is still not sunk in. Probably it will by the evening,” said the champion. “I knew Zeel is a good player and I was prepared for a 3-setter. But after having lost the second set, I thought I already had a trophy but by giving it all, I could win the trophy and that is what I did,” said Rashmikaa.
Rashmikaa took advantage of an error-prone Zeel to achieve an early break in the second game itself which set the tone for the rest of the match to follow. The 21-year-old held her serve in the third game after a series of deuces, which deterred her opponent from making any comeback. Without giving a semblance of a chance, she grabbed the set 6-0.
However, Zeel, who had comeback after staring at defeat in the semifinals yesterday, showed similar traits when she broke her opponent’s serve in the very first game. However, she was broken back in the fourth game as lead changed hands after the fifth game where Rashmikaa led 3-2. Zeel once again came back into the set winning three games on the trot to go 5-3 up before winning the set 6-4.
With the winds playing a crucial role, especially when the players were serving, especially for Zeel who found it tough to control the ball and found her herself 0-3 down. Rashmikaa using her strong forehand to good use and played some brilliant cross court shots which Zeel didn’t have any answer.