Madras Club’s experienced pair of Sai Jailakshmi and Anuradha Ravishanker taught the young Gandhinagar pair of Vandana Murali and Akshatha Ananth a lesson in tactics while staving off a strong challenge from the young pair to win 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-0 in the final of the UCAL TNTA City Club Women’s Doubles League late on Saturday night. The winning pair thus retained the UCAL Rolling Shield for Madras Club for the fifth year in succession.
Both displayed exciting and positive tennis throughout the two-and-a-half hour match. In the first set, after trading a break, the score was two games all. At this stage, the Madras Club pair capitalised on the errors of the Gandhinagar pair to break Akshatha’s serve in the sixth game to surge to a 4-2 lead. With the aid of this break, Madras Club wrapped up the first set 6-3.
In the second set, the Gandhinagar pair started aggressively. With Vandana serving well and displaying good touch, complimented by Akshatha’s fluent ground strokes, they ran up a 4-1 lead. The Madras Club pair regrouped, got more onto the frontfoot and showed their rich experience by changing their tactics. They looped the ball deep eliciting a weak return which was put away efficiently. They levelled the score 4-all dropping only one point in each of the 3 games. Though the Gandhinagar pair had to save a few breakpoints, both sides held serve to take the set into a tiebreak.
Madras Club had its nose ahead till 5-4, when the Gandhinagar pair rallied steadily to elicit errors from the opponents and win the tiebreak 7-5 and the second set. Anuradha’s error of putting out an easy smash on top of the net while leading 3-2 in the tie break proved costly. The Madras Club took the second set loss in their stride and settled down from the beginning of the third set.
Serving deep, controlling the net and putting away punishing volleys they ran up 5-0 lead. Though the scoreline suggested otherwise, there were a number of lively exchanges, most resulting in Madras Club’s favour. Vandana and Akshatha fought hard, but finally succumbed to the onslaught on the second match point, giving Madras Club the title for the fifth time in as many years.
Results (final): Sai Jailakshmi/Anuradha Ravishanker (Madras Club) beat V Murali /Akshatha Ananth (Gandhinagar Club) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-0.