Pune: Her route to the final has been a smooth one. For someone, who hasn’t dropped a set on her way to the summit clash, it was a significant pointer that Sandy Gumulya of Indonesia was in red-hot form. Only an extra special effort from somebody could have stopped her juggernaut. If at all she was looking for inspiration from any quarter, she didn’t really have to look far - the presence of former Indonesian top player Yasuk Basuki in the Deccan Gymhkana tennis courts on Saturday was enough to spur her on.
The pocket-sized player, ranked 263 in the world, showed the importance of playing the crucial points better as she brought the title aspirations of home crowd favourite Isha Lakhani crashing down to earth with an emphatic 6-3, 7-4 victory in the $25,000 NECC-ITF women’s tennis tournament. It was Isha who held the early aces, breaking Gumulya to go up 2-1 after the latter smacked a backhand return into the net.
The eight-seeded Indian blew away the opportunity of calling the shots, losing the very next game at love. Isha A lapse of concentration seemed to get the better of her as she made a flood of needless unforced errors and lost the plot from thereon to concede first set 3-6.
Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. There was no break of serve till the tenth game as the scoreline read 5-5. Isha may have held her serve until now, but inconsistency was her bugbear. Gumulya broke Isha in the eleventh game and later held her serve after a marathon game that witnessed five deuces to win the match.
Isha sounded gracious in defeat. "I had my chances, but couldn’t make the most of it. Hats off to Sandy."