Gold medallist on Friday 10th September in Otocec when she secured the under 15 girls’ singles title, Suhana Saini was the player to fly the flag for India on the opening day of play, Saturday 18th September, at the 2021 WTT Youth Star Contender tournament in Lisbon.
Suhana Saini, India's bright light
She emerged the shining light on what was not a good day for the south Asian country.
Competing in the under 15 girls’ singles event, the no.2 seed, she secured first place in her initial stage group in considerable style. In straight games she accounted for Portugal’s Julia Leal (11-2, 11-5, 11-6) and Gaefane Bled of France (11-5, 11-5, 11-2).
A place in the main draw secured, it is the same in the under 19 girls’ singles competition.
Runners up spot was the end result; first and second in each group advancing to the knock-out phase, Suhana Saini lost to Egypt’s Hana Goda (11-3, 11-9, 11-8) but accounted for Portugal’s Silvia Santos (11-4, 11-3, 11-9) and Russia’s Liubov Tentser (11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 2-11, 11-5).
Progress for Suhana Saini but not for colleagues Yashwini Deepak Ghorpade, Swastika Ghosh and Diya Parag Chitale; all finished in third positions in their respective groups, thus the end of the road.
However, spare a thought for Diya Parag Chitale, her fate could hardly have been more heartbreaking.
In her opening contest she was beaten by Spain’s Ainhoa Cristobal in straight games (12-10, 11-6, 11-8) but recovered to overcome Hungary’s Helga Daria in four games (11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8).
All three players beat Portugal’s Mariana Santa Comba, Diya Parag Chitale winning in five games (11-1, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10); however, in the concluding series of matches, Helga Dari recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Ainhoa Cristobal (4-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-3).
Thus, for Diya Parag Chitale, Ainhoa Cristobal and Helga Dari, taking those three players into account, it was one win each.
Games ratio decided, it was first place for Ainhoa Cristobal (5:3), second place for Dari Helga (4:5), third spot for Diya Parag Chitale (3:4).
Meanwhile, in the under 19 girls’ doubles, life was little better.
Diya Parag Chitale and Suhana Saini experienced a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Germany’s Anastasia Bondareva and Sophia Klee (8-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8); in the same round, Swastika Ghosh and Yashwini Deepak Ghorpade lost to the French pairing of Camille Lutz and Charlotte Lutz (4-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9).
Play in the girls’ events in the under 19 and under 15 age groups conclude on Sunday 19th September
Editor: Ian Marshall