Ten­nis ace in the mak­ing

Sunday Tribune - - SPORT - THAHIR ASMAL

JU­NIOR ten­nis star Kait­lyn Ram­duth feels at home on the court. Blessed with the tech­ni­cal abil­ity to play deft drop shots and the ag­gres­sion to serve up ace af­ter ace, she has quickly es­tab­lished her­self as one of top play­ers on the ju­nior na­tional cir­cuit.

Last week­end, Ram­duth, who lives in Glen­wood, came close to win­ning the un­der-12 sec­tion of the Growth­point Ju­nior Masters tour­na­ment hosted by Ten­nis South Africa.

Af­ter bom­bard­ing her way through to fi­nal of the com­pe­ti­tion in Potchef­stroom which fea­tured eight of the top-ranked ju­niors in her age group, Ram­duth lost to sec­ond seed Jani Steyn.

The fourth seed, Ram­duth’s run to the fi­nal came as no sur­prise given her hot form this year, de­spite pre­vi­ously never win­ning a game at the same com­pe­ti­tion in her two pre­vi­ous at­tempts.

“Be­ing a run­ner-up in this tour­na­ment is still a huge ac­com­plish­ment and I’m very happy,” Ram­duth said.

Af­ter beat­ing Re­becca Wi­dan of Western Prov­ince and Boland’s Celi­na­joseph, Ram­duth’s con­fi­dence grew.

“It took me a while to ad­just to the heat lev­els, and the dry­ness was not some­thing that I am used to. By the time I played my next match I was more ac­cli­ma­tised, and I was even more de­ter­mined as the re­main­ing matches were get­ting tougher,” Ram­duth said.

In the semi-fi­nals she faced the top seed Han­mare Mcaslin.

“I had played her twice this year and lost both times. I knew this was go­ing to be a huge match, and I was ready for it,” Ram­duth said.

“My big­gest goal was to make the fi­nal, so I gave it all I had. I was ag­gres­sive, I at­tacked well, my serves worked well, I was very con­sis­tent and I put my op­po­nent un­der pres­sure.”

She won 6-2, 6-1 to set-up a fi­nal clash against Steyn.

Ram­duth be­gan the gold medal match look­ing to un­leash her trade­mark hard hit­ting ap­proach but came un­stuck in the first set, los­ing 6-2.

She bat­tled on in the sec­ond, of­ten dic­tat­ing play, but in the end Steyn man­aged to stay in points longer to win by the same score line and lift the ti­tle.

“I played as best as I could, I don’t think I did any­thing wrong,” the Maris Stella pupil said.

“I was ag­gres­sive and I went big for all my shots, but she was just pa­tient and some­how man­aged to re­turn ev­ery ball.”

Ram­duth’s coaches Gary Comins and Natalie Grandin both say they be­lieve she is a star in the mak­ing.

An im­pres­sive con­so­la­tion for Ram­duth hav­ing missed out on the na­tional crown was her in­clu­sion in Team South Africa’s Un­der 14 squad for the com­ing sea­son.

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