Vishnu’s many avatars

Ten games into the fourth set of the doubles rubber, India was enjoying a position of comfort and did not look too fazed by the fast and accurate serving from the Kiwi players. Ahead two sets to one in the match and enjoying a cushion of three break points to take a 6-5 lead in the fourth set, everybody assembled at the CLTA might have sniffed an Indian victory.

However, the climax didn't unfold as they had expected, at least not as immediately. Vishnu Vardhan and Divij Sharan were mere spectators for the next few moments as Michael Venus made sure the Kiwis would not surrender the third game and the tie so easily. Five thundering serves and exquisite rallies from the baseline put the vistors up 6-5, and suddenly it was the inexperienced Indians who were serving to stay in the set.

Although the Indians were to square the score at 6-all and managed to stretch Daniel King Turner and Venus in the tie-break, Vishnu's fitness troubles were conspicuously troubling the Indians.

Early in the day, Vishnu had an unfinished singles match to attend to, the second singles rubber which he was leading two sets to one against Jose Rubin Statham. After not blinking through the fourth set and claiming it comfortably 6-2 against the Kiwi number one, Vishnu went for a change of wear and a change of suits too.

Reaping dividends

Now into the fag end of the fourth set of the doubles match that started immediately after, all the game time he had put in began to show.

Right from the moment he stepped onto the advantage court after giving India a 2-1 lead by winning the third set, Vishnu's movement on the ground suddenly became stiffer and it was evident fatigue was slowing down his legs.

... contd.

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