Reigning national champion and the tournament’s sixth seed, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan didn’t sweat much in the final of the CCI-ITF Men’s USD 15,000 Tennis tournament on Saturday. The 24-year-old registered a 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded Croatian Mate Pavic to lift the men’s title at the Cricket Club of India.
The Tamil Nadu lad took a touch over an hour to take home the winner’s cheque of USD 1950 and 27 ATP points. This win will ensure that Nedunchezhiyan, ranked 397 coming into the tournament, will break into the 350 when the new rankings list is announced. Meanwhile, Pavic earned a prize money of USD 1,350 and 18 points.
Pavic, who defeated fourth seed Liang-Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the semis, looked off-colour against the Indian. Nedunchezhiyan took advantage of the unforced errors from his opponent to snatch vital breaks in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. In the second set, Nedunchezhiyan didn’t let the Croatian teenager stage a comeback and with breaks in the first and fifth games, he went on to win the set and the title comfortably.
Nedunchezhiyan will now travel to Pune to defend his Futures crown which he won last year. Having endured a lot of injury problems in the last couple of months, he said that his focus would be to stay healthy and not think about rankings.
“The last three months have been really horrible for me. A twisted ankle in early August and a stomach muscle tear the very next week ensured that I was out of action for the later part of August and the whole of September. I am not thinking about rankings, but aim to stay healthy.
I am not drained thanks to the match ending in an hour. Now, I have two more days to recover before the Pune Futures start on October 29,” he said.
Pavic said: “I had no answer. He outplayed me today.”