New Delhi: Dalwinder Singh, who is son of a school bus driver, and 16-year-old Mahak Jain today became the new national tennis champions after their superlative show in the finals of the Fenesta National Championships, here today.
Big-hitting Dalwinder toppled top seed Suraj Prabodh 6-3 6-4 in the men’s singles final to become only the second player from Punjab to win the national men’s title.
Sunil Kumar Sipeya is the only other player from Punjab to have won the national title. He had won two trophies, last being in 2005.
Mahak, a class X student in Indore, emerged as a super defender to tame Zeel Desai 7-5 6-3 with her outstanding retrieving ability and lifted the women’s singles title.
Mahak stood out with her court coverage, swift movement and her ability to stay calm under pressure.
Having played each other four times before, they knew each other’s game inside out, even though it was Zeel who had psychological advantage of being a winner in three of those meetings.
Mahak returned almost everything that the 18-year-old Zeel threw at her. Her little frame was no barrier as Mahak packed decent power in her strokes.
Mahak showed that she won’t crack under pressure when in the opening set she had a set point in the 12th game but got a bad call from the umpire. Zeel had sent it long and was called out by the line umpire but the chair umpire overruled it and it was deuce.
Despite getting frustrated, Mahak kept calm and was back to work. She even saved a breakpoint in that game and eventually sealed the set.
Zeel was initially dictating the points when Mahak hit short but the Indore girl changed the strategy and started hitting long and deep.
It worked for her, while Zeel struggled to break the trap.
“It’s very special. It means a lot to me. I need to get more strong,” said Mahak after her win.
Zeel said she could not play as she wanted.
“She hit deep and low. She put everything back and it made a big difference to the outcome of the match,” Zeel, who hails from Gujarat, said.
Meanwhile, fourth seed Dalwinder’s relentless hitting, which had taken him this far in the tournament, worked in the final as well. He packed a lot of power in his strokes and managed to subdue another good opponent.
Dalwinder, who trains at Harvest Academy in Jassowal, Punjab, revealed that his father works as a driver in the Harvest school.
“When I was in class five, Harvinder Singh sir had come to the government school, where I studied, to know who wanted to learn tennis. Me and 4-5 others showed interest and we started to train.
“Since then, I am being sponsored by them. I train with Jaspinder sir (his coach). My father is a driver at the Harvest Campus,” he said.
Interestingly, Suraj has also recently joined the Harvest Academy and they have been hitting together for the last two months.
The boys under-18 title was won by Delhi’s Sacchitt Sharrma, who beat Maharashtra’s Dhruv Sunish 6-3 6-4 while the girls title was claimed by Vaidehi Chaudhari after she outplayed Akansha Bhan 6-3 6-0.