Tandin Wangchuk, the former national champion, became the first Bhutanese player to feature in the finals of India-Bhutan friendship tennis tournament in Thimphu yesterday.
In the men’s singles of the 4th edition of the tournament, Tandin Wangchuk played against Vilasier Khate, two-time title holder of the championship.
Tandin Wangchuk lost 1-6 and 2-6 of the total three sets to the reigning champion from India. The final also brought together Tandin Wangchuk and Vilasier Khate after 10 years.
Vilasier Khate won the toss and opted to serve first. It was a tense start for Tandin Wangchuk as he faced a tough time controlling the game. He lost several points throwing balls out of the court.
However, he managed to win one point in the first set and two in the second set.
“I could only pick up the game in the second set but it was late for me to get the result. I did not play him before and he is already playing high-level international tournaments,” said Tandin Wangchuk.
He said that the level of tennis in the country has improved over the years. “I expected to reach the quarter and semifinals. Playing the finals was unexpected,” he said.
Vilasier Khate took part in the championship for the third time and holds the highest record of winning the championship for three times along with Shivika Burman from India who won women’s single.
Tandin Wangchuk took on the current national champion, Tenzin Singye Dorji in the semi-final. It was a close match. Tandin Wangchuk won the first set 7-6 and Tenzin Singye Dorji, the second set 6-7 to extend the game to the third set.
Tandin Wangchuk sealed the deciding set 6-4 to claim a spot in the final.
The women’s singles saw reigning champion Shivika Burman taking on Aum Partizia Tshering. In the match between a veteran player and a young upcoming player, Shivika Burman defeated Aum Partizia Tshering 6-0, 6-0 to seal the championship.
Shivika Burman said the game went as planned in the final. “It feels good to win the championship for the third time in a row. I played her twice before and I knew what I had to do to win.”
Unlike the past editions, this championship played a new category of mixed lucky doubles. “The category was good because it gave a chance for the girls to play doubles. Girls never played doubles otherwise,” said Shivika Burman.
Her Royal Highness Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck graced the final and the award ceremony at the Changlingmithang tennis center.
More than 60 players took part in the three-day championship that was organised to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India.