Vol. 4 Num 237 Sat. January 24, 2004  

Mi, Roy write script

It was a tale of two Indians on the final day of the Sheltech 18th Group-3 Bangladesh International Junior Tennis Championships. Madhura Ranganathan was seeded number one and going great guns in the girl's singles event but her march towards glory at the Ramna National Tennis Complex came to a crashing halt on Friday against South Korean Seo Soon Mi.

The Tamil Nadu player had brushed aside all her challengers without dropping a set in any of the three previous matches. But she finally ran out of gas against the athletic Mi, who came from behind to clinch a 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

The contest saw both girls unwilling to take risks and instead slugging it out with long rallies from the baseline throughout the two-hour contest.

Her compatriot and number two Rupesh Roy, however, compensated for the earlier disappointment after he shattered the dreams of red-hot Briton Faris Khatib in the boy's singles final.

Roy, who later won the doubles crown, shot down his seventh-ranked opponent with 6-3, 6-3 win. Faris was aiming to add the Dhaka crown to his Rajshahi triumph.

Yet only a day after ousting number one boy's singles seed Mychael Leong of the Solmon Islands in the semifinals, the UAE-born Faris, whose father comes from Lebanon and mother is Irish, started showing signs of tiredness from the marathon three-set semifinal.

Known as thinking player by his coach Simon Harston and whose male tennis idol is Andre Agassi, the London-based Faris had no answer to the precision and punishing groundstrokes of Roy.

The victories for Roy and Mi earned them 60 ITF junior points respectively. The losing finalists, on the other hand, collected 45 points.

The boys' doubles final turned out to be an anti-climax when Roy and his partner Anushuman Dutta were awarded the title after one of their opponents had to retire having conceded the first set 6-2.

The press release faxed by the Bangladesh Tennis Federation failed to mention the names of who Roy and Dutta were playing.

On the concluding day Bangladesh Olympic Association secretary general Zafar Imam gave away prizes among the winners.

South Korean Seo Soon Mi makes a running return against Indian Madura Ranganathan in the girls' singles final of the Sheltech Group 3 18th International Junior Tennis Championships at the Ramna National Tennis Complex yesterday. She won 1-6, 6-1, 6-1. PHOTO: STAR