Ratnika to meet Shweta in DSCL tennis finals

October 24th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Wildcard Ratnika Batra produced a stunning upset at the DSCL women’s tennis nationals, knocking out top seed Shalini Sahoo, to set up a title clash with qualifier Shweta Rana, who shocked veteran Geeta Manohar at the DLTA complex here Friday.On a day when minnows ruled the roost, 14-year-old Ratnika came up with solid tennis to rout the experienced Shalini 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinal.

The 19-year-old had no answer to Ratnika’s clever mix of shots and conceded her serve in the third and seventh game of the first set.

Ratnika then broke a dispirited Shalini in the first and and the fifth game of the second set to ease her way into the finals.

“I used to practice a lot with Shalini a year back in the Sirifort Tennis Academy. So I had some idea. I did not allow her to rally as she is very good in that. I repeatedly attacked her forehand and that worked. She was coming after the ball very fast and leaving the other side of the court open,” said Ratnika, who is an under-14 and under-16 national champion.”

In the other semifinal, Shweta, 15, showed the door to 24-year-old Geeta with a 6-1, 7-6(4) win. With her intelligent shot selection and nimble-footed play, Shweta put the pressure on Geeta and raced to take the first set in just 23 minutes.

Geeta came better in the second set and broke Shweta in the very first game. But Shweta broke back in the fourth to make it 2-2. Thereafter both players traded breaks till the 11th game to take the match to tie-break which Shweta won comfortably.

“I played with an open mind since she was much senior to me. I began aggressively to get an early advantage. I could see she was getting tired and made her run with cross-courts shots,” Shweta said.

“But I got a little nervous in the second set as I started thinking about the finals. It was also the first time I was playing in front of television cameras, so I felt a little pressure. But in the tie-break, I played freely and got an early lead,” she said.

When told she she will be facing Ratnika in the finals, Shweta was unruffled. “I have beaten her before. I am not worried. If I play like this, I will win the championship.”

Ratnika, too, is confident of winning the title.

“She (Shweta) still plays the same way whereas I have worked on my drops. So I feel I have a good chance against her,” she said.

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