By Rishabh Kumar
For Jwala to win the General Championship Trophy, all they needed to do was win the inter-hostel Tennis finals, and they did so on the last day of the inter-hostel sporting events.
The tie started with Jwala’s Roopak battling it out with Adhhayan from Aravali. Roopak, Jwala’s veteran, playing for the final time in this event, had a chance to end his four year journey with Jwala in emphatic fashion. On the night of the big final, he did exactly so by leading Jwala to victory. Adhhayan, playing in his first inter-hostel final was clearly under pressure from the very beginning, playing nowhere near to his calibre. Roopak broke his opponent’s serve in the very first game to start strongly. Addhayan answered with a break in the eighth game, but Roopak immediately broke back and then served out the first set 6-4. Huge roars of “Come on!” were heard from Roopak as and when he won the points, delighting the Jwala crowd. The second set saw Adhhayan’s form dip remarkably, as he piled up unforced errors throughout the set. Roopak took advantage of his opponent’s erratic form and ran away with a bagel to close the first match 6-4 6-0.
In the following doubles rubber Jwala moved one step closer to winning the match as Roopak and Aman took the first set 6-4. The second set saw a fightback from the duo of Adhhayan and Divyansh as they targeted Aman strategically, to win the points, eventually taking the second set 6-2. The doubles rubber was being played under the modern mixed doubles’ rules and hence a super tie-breaker was needed to decide the winner of this match. In the super tie-break, Aravali carried on with the form they had playing in the second set to take the match 4-6 6-2 [10-4].
The crowd was active throughout the match, and the roars after each point could be heard even in the Students’ Activity Centre. The Institute Captain, Vedant Sharma, who was acting as the umpire for the match, had already awarded a point penalty to each team because of constant shouts from the crowd during the rallies. Meanwhile, Girnar had won the inter-hostel table tennis final and had marched into the tennis courts sporting their trophy, making the Jwala supporters even more tensed.
It was clear that the next singles rubber would not only decide the inter-hostel tennis champions, but also the winners of the coveted General Championship. At this point, Aravali were the favourites to win the match, with Divyansh pitted against Jwala’s Aman. What followed was an extraordinary turn of events. Aman rose up to the challenge of defeating Divyansh, as he shrewdly hit drop shots to take advantage of his opponent’s deep position in the court. First set to Jwala, 6-2. The second set saw a fightback from Ara’s Divyansh, as he levelled the set at 5-5. Then, in the most important ten minutes of the whole inter-hostel sporting event, it was Aman who led the ‘dragons’ to victory, taking the match 6-2 7-5, with Jwala winning the tie 2-1. Jwala supporters started the wildest of celebrations, realising that they had been crowned champions, ending the dominant run of their arch-rivals Kumaon. Although high-quality tennis was not seen regularly in the match, it was a fitting final in terms of thrill and passion. It was a final worthy of bringing the curtain down on this year’s General Championships.