Jennifer claims the inaugural national title in her first final
NAGPUR: It was his first national final but Jennifer Varghese He barely showed nerves.
Probably the experience of playing many semifinals helped this 11-year-old boy, who is growing in reputation with every tournament that passes. Jennifer showed great composure in a crisis situation in the decisive against Sharvani Nagam of Tamil Nadu, when the score was 3-3 and 9-all.
It could have gone either way, but the city girl remained calm by gathering the last two points under pressure to win her first national cadet title with a 4-3 victory in a seven-game thriller. Jennifer, who is India No. 4 in the cadet category, annoys No. 3 Sharvani 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 in the final of the UTT National Ranking (West Zone) Tennis table Championships that ended at Sulochana Devi Singhania, Thane, on Sunday.
Having secured a bronze in Sonepat and Howrah in the previous two nationals, Jennifer was eager to win the gold this time. It is a great feeling. I worked very hard for this. I was getting lost in the nationals for a little. I am happy to have finished on the right side this time. I'm glad I could keep those last two (national) semifinals away from my mind. Now, I need to work even harder to maintain consistency, an exuberant Jennifer told TOI after her triumph.
Jennifer's coach, Ujjwal Wani, was a satisfied man, especially when he saw his pupil playing against his natural game. It was a difficult game. His opponent was very strong in the rallies. So Jennifer concentrated on keeping the ball on the table as long as possible. Basically, he had to play against his natural game. Every time Jennifer tried to finish it quickly, she fought and lost those games. It was patience that earned him this title, Wani said.
Wani said he didn't pressure Jennifer to win the title. We expected him to reach the semifinal and from then on, it was about taking a game at that time. He played extraordinarily well in the semifinal and then took his game to another level in the final, he added.
When Jenifer lost the semifinal in Howrah's nationals last month, Wani and mentor Shrirang Bhandarkar resolved the areas for improvement. She has been playing tremendously well on both flanks now. Jennifer's service returns have improved, which made her more attacking. Basically, he is understanding when to attack and when to be patient, Bhandarkar said.
In addition, Jennifer also worked hard to improve her strength. She is not even a teenager, but we are working on her strength so that she can generate more power in her shots. I am sure that it will soon break into the Indian juniors. Jennifer just needs to do what she has been doing. You need to constantly evolve and that is what we try with all our students, said their coaches.
Jennifer has been dominating this season on the state circuit winning four of the five state titles of cadets. It has also done well in the sub-junior category, challenging the sown state players.
Recently, the Titan Club player won three titles in the district championships. Now, his goal would be to win the national championship early next year.
Final: Jennifer Varghese (Mah) bt Sharvani Nagam (TN) 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9; Semi-finals: Jennifer Varghese bt M. Hansini (TN) 2-11, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4; Sharvani Nagam bt Nandini Saha (WB) 6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-5, 11-4.