Tennis Premier League | Rithvik, Maan and Sharmada rise to the occasion for Sapphires

Champion stuff: Sapphires overcame a sluggish start to lay its hands on the trophy.

Champion stuff: Sapphires overcame a sluggish start to lay its hands on the trophy.
| Photo Credit: KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Defending champion Gurgaon Sapphires did it yet again, beating Ichiban Samurai 81-56 in the final of the Pro Tennis League 2023 at the RK Khanna Stadium here on Sunday.

The entertaining final saw Sapphires get off to a tough start. However, the team battled back through Rithvik Bollipalli, Maan Kesharwani and Sharmada Balu to outscore a side that had won everything till the final.

Rithvik was a class act, serving big and stroking with confidence, as he tamed Nitin Kumar Sinha 18-12. It was a superb show by the doubles specialist. Sharmada and Ruma Gaikaiwari virtually sealed the tie by beating Sahaja Yamalapalli and Gauri Mangaonkar 15-5.

Leading 77-53 at that stage, Sapphires needed four more points to clinch the trophy. Fittingly, it was Rithvik (partnering Maan) who fired an ace on the first championship point (3-3) to close out the contest against Nitin Kumar Sinha and Rushil Khosla.

Rushil had done a good job till the final, but did not get much of a chance after losing to Maan Kesharwani 8-12 in the second singles.

For the fans who stayed back, it was an exciting evening of exhilarating tennis, as Gurgaon Sapphires pulled the rug under the feet of Ichiban Samurai, with a classic show.

The results: Final: Gurgaon Sapphires bt Ichiban Samurai 81-56 (Sharmada Balu lost to Sahaja Yamalapalli 6-14; Maan Kesharwani bt Rushil Khosla 11-9; Ruma Gaikaiwari bt Gauri Mangaonkar 15-5; Sharmada & Suresh Krishna bt Sahaja & Dilip Mohanty 12-8; Rithvik Bollipalli bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 18-12; Sharmada & Ruma bt Sahaja & Gauri 15-5; Rithivik & Maan bt Nitin & Rushil 4-3). Semifinals:Sapphires bt Sankara Stag Babolat Yoddhas 81-64 (Sharmada tied with Sowjanya Bavisetti 10-10; Maan tied Vansh Bisht 10-10; Ruma lost to Sahira Singh 8-12; Sharmada & Suresh Krishna bt Sowjanya & Pulkit Mishra 13-7; Rithvik bt Arjun Kadhe 20-10; Sharmada & Ruma lost to Sowjanya & Sahira 9-11; Rithvik & Maan bt Arjun & Vansh 11-4). Samurai bt Paramount Proec Tigers 81-75 (Sahaja bt Sravya Shivani 13-7; Rushil tied with Parikshit Somani 10-10; Gauri lost to Divya Ungrish 7-13; Sahaja & Dilip lost to Sravya & Indra Kumar Mahajan 7-13; Nitin Kumar bt Vishnu Vardhan 16-14; Sahaja & Gauri bt Sravya & Divya 11-9; Nitin & Rushil bt Vishnu & Parikshit 17-9).

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