Tennis: In a closely contested match, Kinley Wangchuk, a seasoned player with the Bhutan Tennis Federation defeated Major Sonam Gyeltshen in  straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 to claim the men’s single title at the 44th National Open Tennis Championship in Thimphu on Sunday.

The all-court player, Kinley Wangchuk adapted an offensive approach cutting most of Major Sonam Gyeltshen’s volleys at the net.

Resorting to a defensive approach, Major Sonam Gyeltshen’s weak serve on the day added to the early wrap-up of the main event.

In the women’s category, defending champion Tandin Wangmo Dorji defeated Tandin Bida 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to retain her title. A total of six junior girls took part in the women’s division.

While in the senior category, debutant Thinley got back in the game after losing the first set 4-6 to defeat retired Lt Col Mandhoj Pradhan, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. In the lucky mixed doubles Sonam Phuntsho and Jigme Sherab defeated Lt Col Mandhoj Pradhan and Kinley Wangchuk who in the final set withdrew because of injury.

Jigme Sherab said that the quality of the game has changed over time. “With all the facilities and training provided to youth these days, the quality of the players have improved a lot,” the 29-year-old said.

One of the participants, Tshering Tobgay said that his journey with tennis has been a gradual improvement with every tournament. “Before I used to be eliminated in the first few games only but now I manage to reach at least the quarter finals,” he said. “This is because of the constant practise I have with the coaches here at the federation.”

Tshering Tobgay added that in order to provide the youth with more exposure on the game, the federation needs to come up with more tournaments. Currently the BTF organises two tennis tournaments annually.

More than 55 participants took part in the nine-day tournament at the outdoor tennis court in Changlimithang.

Younten Tshedup