Zeel Desai thread

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Zeel Desai thread

Post by PKBasu »

Zeel Desai (who turned 17 on 18th February this year) has made the final of the ITF Futures in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt this week, beating pros with career-high rankings of 276 and 346 in the QF and SF. She has beaten the 4th seed (in R1) and the eighth and fifth seeds in the last two rounds.

Currently unranked in the pro WTA list, Zeel is #69 in the juniors. She won a Grade 3 and Grade 2 junior singles title this January (in Nashik and Chandigarh), played quite intermittently thereafter, but then won a double crown at a Grade 3 tournament in a strong field in Zimbabwe last month.

She joins Pranjala Yadlapalli, Karman Kaur Thandi and Mahak Jain as a very exciting foursome of upcoming players in the 15-18 age group that we will hopefully be cheering on lustily for the next decade and beyond.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by vatsal323 »

Lustily? Haha. Zeel looks really promising though tbh. Yet another player from Gujarat, after Ankita Raina. The Gujarat government is really helping their athletes and you can see in the results. TN and Gujarat churn out most of the promising players. It's directly proportional.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by Daniel »

vatsal323 wrote:Lustily? Haha. Zeel looks really promising though tbh. Yet another player from Gujarat, after Ankita Raina. The Gujarat government is really helping their athletes and you can see in the results. TN and Gujarat churn out most of the promising players. It's directly proportional.
I always thought most of the promising players come from Andhra...
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

Yes, Gujarat is making good progress. Apart from Ankita and Zeel, they have 2 good girls in the under 18 category - Vaidehi Choudhary and Akansha Bhan who won tournaments in ITF junior series held in India recently. On boys side, it has also Megh Patel who is part of our under 16 junior davis cup team and Dev Javia/ Aaryan Zhavei who are our top 2 boys in under 14.

Never seen such large crop of juniors doing well for Gujarat. So, something must have been done right there to come up with this talent.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

To update this thread, Zeel lost a close match in the final in Egypt against the Romanian Ana Binaca Mihaila. Still, a very good week for Zeel in her first professional tournament in more than a year. She showed a lot of promise. She earns 7 points for this tournament. Not enough as per WTA rules to get her a WTA ranking. She will have to earn at least 1 point each in 2 more tournaments or 3 more points in 1 tournament to get a WTA ranking.

She will be playing in Egypt again this week. So, a SF finish this week will do it for her. Go Zeel.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

As experted, Zeel Desai makes her debut in the WTA singles rankings this week at 965. At 17 years and 8 months, She is the second youngest Indian to be ranked behind Pranjala Yadlapalli who is a month younger and is ranked 685. Third youngest is Karman Kaur who is 18 years and 4 month old and is ranked 579 ( and will move up further after her last week's runner up points are updated).

Hope these 3 youngsters keep rising up in the rankings on WTA tour.

Zeel and Pranjala still have more than a year to go on junior tour though. In next week's grade 2 in Thailand, they are top 2 acceptances on girls side.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

Zeel reached the QF at the Australian open juniors this week. This is a nice article on her in ESPN -

India's teen tennis star is built like Sindhu, idolises Sania
"I am not in favour of her playing too many tournaments," he says. "Her overall development is more important. You have to be selective about tournament play and focus more on improving her skills. She is a determined girl, mentally very strong. However, her serve is still a work in progress and to compete with the bigger European girls we have to improve her movement. Strength, conditioning and nutrition are key."
Her Australian coach Todd Clarke seems to know exactly the improvements needed in her game. If only he can make her improve on these aspects in next couple of years, we will have a real star in the making.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by jayakris »

Zeel is going to make some noise, I think. How big a noise, remains to be seen, but she will do well. Just my hunch.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

Zeel is now ranked at a career high of 29 in ITF juniors rankings. She is also ranked 10th in the race to ITF junior masters to be held in Chengdu, China in October. This is a similar event designed for juniors as for men and women and the participants get benefits such as travel grants and professional wild cards. So, Zeel can aim to qualify for this for which she will have to do well in remaining slams and other higher level events.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by S_K_S »

I liked the old rule where you had to win a futures event to get a thread of your own.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by Varma »

Me too.

- Varma
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

Congratulations to Zeel for winning her first pro title this week in Gwalior.

These are her results this week-

[R1] Zeel DESAI (IND) [8] 6-3 3-6 6-4 Eetee MAHETA (IND)
[R2] Zeel DESAI (IND) [8] 3-6 6-0 6-0 Ramya NATARAJAN (IND
[QF] Zeel DESAI (IND) [8] 6-4 6-3 Riya BHATIA (IND) [2]
[SF] Zeel DESAI (IND) [8] 6-3 7-6(5) Lulu RADOVCIC (SUI)
[F] Zeel DESAI (IND) [8] 6-3 7-5 Mahak JAIN (IND)

With that title, Zeel will move up to just inside top 700 in the WTA rankings.

It looks like she (and Mahak) will play back to back grade 1 tournaments in Thailand and Malaysia in next 2 weeks. With her junior ranking of 29, Zeel does not have to play any more junior events now except for grand slams ( and a odd warm up tournament before that) . So, I am a bit surprised that she is choosing to play these Asian grade 1 tournaments.

Probably wants to get into top 10 of ITF rankings and play newly introduced year ending junior masters.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by Abish arul »

maybe she is looking to get a seeding in the junior slam draws
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by jaydeep »

Nice interview of Zeel.

‘I will play only singles from now,’ says Zeel Desai
“From now onwards, in women’s tournaments, I will be playing only singles because I want to focus on my singles game,” Desai clarified regarding her preparations in the Pro circuit. “That’s why I didn’t play doubles [in Gwalior] because I knew [the matches] were going to be tough. So, I just wanted to give [my] 100%. I want to focus on my singles more on the Pro Tour.”

While she may have the mental aspect of her game down pat, there are a handful of technical aspects that Desai feels she needs to improve. “I want to improve my serve so that I can dominate the points. It is getting better, but I want to improve it [some] more,” she said.

“I am here in Thailand and then I am playing in Malaysia so that I can get some points and be seeded for the Junior French Open,” said Desai.
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Re: Zeel Desai thread

Post by sameerph »

With her first pro title win points and her grade 1 junior title updated today, Zeel is now at a career high in both her WTA and ITF junior rankings.

She is now ranked 710 in the WTA singles rankings and 20 in the ITF junior rankings. In the Road to Chengdu ITF junior masters rankings, she is ranked #5. She will need some strong performances in the remaining junior slams to remain in top 8 to qualify to play that masters which will be rewarding financially and tennis wise.
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