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Balaji in final, Jeevan out

Sriram Balaji

N Sriram Balaji breezed into the summit clash of the ITF Futures singles event but an all-Indian final
Sriram BalajiBhopal: N Sriram Balaji breezed into the summit clash of the ITF Futures singles event but an all-Indian final was prevented due to the defeat of top seed Jeevan Nedunchehzian, here today.

Second seed Balaji got past unseeded compatriot N Vijay Sundar Prashanth 7-5 6-2 in the semifinals of the USD 15,000 tournament to make his second successive final.

Balaji had ended runner-up last week in New Delhi.

He was down 3-5 in the opening set, facing two set points, but he hung on and reeled off four straight games to to snatch the momentum from his competitive rival.

Prashanth was impressive with his backhand but Balaji blunted his rival as the match progressed and easily sealed the win.

Top seed Jeevan lost 2-6 6-4 2-6 to third seed Korean Jung-Woong Na in the other semifinal.

Jeevan had his chances but squandered nine break chances in the match to bow out.

Jeevan though made up for the singles defeat by winning the doubles title with top seeded partner Purav Raja, later.

They defeated the giant-killing pair of Daniiar Duldaev from Kyrgyzstan and India’s Karunuday Singh 6-3 6-3 in the summit clash.

Duldaev and Karunuday had knocked out second seeds and last week’s winners Balaji and Ranjeet Virali Murugesan in the semifinals and third seeded Swiss pair of Luca Margaroli and Jannis Liniger in the first round.

Balaji will now play his third final of the season, having won a title in June when he defeated Jeevan.

PTI

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