Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kodali dominates to win USTA National Open 14s title

Anudeep Kodali of Durham, N.C., was spraying the ball all over the court with seemingly the greatest of ease.

He is the future star of USA Tennis.

“In the second set, I was going for everything and it was working,” Kodali said.

Despite soggy conditions at the Westgate Tennis Center on 27th, Monday afternoon, Kodali was on his ‘A’ game in defeating Alex Phillips of Peachtree City, Ga., 6-2, 6-1 in the USTA Boys National Open 14s championship match.

“I knew what he was going to do from the start of the match,” Kodali said. “He was going to go for my forehand, so I was more aggressive with my backhand.

“I was just hitting the ball so well on the strings – hitting corners and drop shots.”

Phillips had no answers to offset Kodali’s fine play.

“Unfortunately in the finals, he kind of overpowered me,” Phillips said. “He hit it really hard and deep and took advantage of his slow ball.”

It marked the first time Kodali has been a No. 1 seed in a national open tournament.

His toughest test over the three-day event came during a 6-4, 6-4 semifinal match on Sunday against Abhin Sharma of Alpharetta, Ga.

“The first two matches, I need to get used to the players and the atmosphere,” Kodali said. “I don’t play my best until later in the tournament. I step it up.”

Kodali said it was one of his top wins competing in the 14 and under age division.

“This is like the second biggest tournament so far,” Kodali said. “It’s my first national open win this year.

“The other was when I was 13 last year in the nationals, I wasn’t seeded and got to the semis in San Antonio.”

This time Kodali, once ranked No. 1 nationally as a 12-year-old, completed the mission and took home his first national title as a 14-year-old.

He also won the doubles championship on Monday while teaming up with Small to defeat Galen Lee and Francis Yang, 6-2, 6-1.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saketh Myneni wins Nationals Mens Tennis Title

Saketh Myneni. The strapping six-foot-four-inch player from Andhra Pradesh spent hardly any time in the men's final — just 57 minutes — before becoming the new champion, sweeping aside the challenge of the previous year's winner and state-mate A. S. Suresh Krishna in straight sets.Saketh's win re-established the growing influence of the American inter-collegiate tennis circuit on Indian tennis.

Saketh, a national junior champion in 2005, had quietly honed his skills playing the highly competitive U. S. inter-collegiate circuit for six years while completing a double Major in finance and economics in Alabama. Now a senior National champion at the age of 24, Saketh says his best efforts were breaking into the top-10 in singles and top-15 in doubles in the U. S. intercollegiate rankings. Doing well in that circuit, which has players coming from all over the world, is more about “attitude” feels Saketh. “You have to focus both in studies and in tennis to do well. There are a lot of Indians who are getting seriously into this,” Saketh said. He confirmed that the trend became popular with the success of his senior Somdev Devvarman.

Though playing his first tournament on grass, Saketh was at ease on the surface. Success came his way almost immediately after he returned to the country in September last year when he won the ITF Futures in Chennai. The Hyderabad-based player said the time he spent in America was now paying off and he hoped to do well right through the season.

“I would like to get into the Davis Cup team and wish some more good results would come my way in the season,” Saketh said visibly inspired by the commanding form he showed in picking up the national crown. Saketh, who earned the top billing in the tournament as he is ranked No. 11 in the country, was in imperious form and did not drop a set.

Saketh Myneni... maiden title.

With his performance getting better with every round, Saketh found his best touch in the final against Suresh Krishna. The latter had to really struggle to get the better of his unseeded opponents in the quarter- and the pre-quarterfinals. The difference was apparent in the title clash as Saketh served with flourish and returned with panache to blow away his opponent in no time.