Subhash, 15, is now the tennis world No. 32 in junior girls.
NEW YORK: Indian American Natasha Subhash, 15, has shot up to No. 32 in the tennis world junior girls ranking – for combined singles and doubles – after winning the doubles title of the 2016 Abierto Juvenil Mexicano tournament, held in Mexico City, Mexico, from Nov. 14-20, partnering with Caty McNally of the US.
In the finals of the girls doubles of the Grade A championship, the fourth-seeded pair of Subhash and McNally – the latter turned 15 on Nov. 20 – beat the third-seeded duo of Malene Helgo (Norway) and Claire Liu in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, on outdoor clay court.
In the first round, Subhash and McNally bageled Romary Cardenas Rifka (Mex) / Aida Garcia Mendez (Mex) 6-0, 6-0. They got a better fight in the second round, before prevailing in straight sets over Alexia Coutino Castillo (Mex) / Amanda Meyer (USA), 7-5, 6-3.
Subhash and McNally scraped through in the quarterfinals with a come-from-behind, gritty three sets win over the eight-seeded pair of Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (Col) / Thaisa Grana Pedretti (Bra) 2-6, 6-1,12-10. In the semi-finals, they had a much easier outing, sailing through in straight sets over the fifth-seeded pair from the US, Amanda Anisimova and / Carson Branstine, 7-5, 6-1.
In the girls singles championship, Subhash, who was seeded 12th, won two rounds, beating Alexa Noel (US) in the first round, 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-5 and Nidhi Surapaneni of India, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3, in the second, before bowing out to the 7th seeded Emily Appleton of Great Britain in a hard-fought third round match, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3, squandering three match points.
Top seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia won the boys singles championship, while eighth seed Taylor Johnson of US won the girls singles title. The boys doubles title was clinched by Andrew Fenty (USA) and Yshai Oliel (Israel).
Subhash has climbed up the rankings rapidly. She was ranked combined 211 at end of 2015. This year in the girls singles, she was won 19 and lost 10 matches (with a career record of 39/20), and in doubles 22 and 8 matches (with an impressive career record of 47/15).
McNally has a better ranking than Subhash. She is No. 24 in the world, after being 229 at the end of 2015.
Subhash and McNally were paired up at the 2016 US Open girls doubles championship, but had to pull out after McNally got injured in her singles match.
Subhash, who turned 15 on Sep. 2, had won her first round singles match at the US Open, with a superb win over the 12th seed Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. That was her second US Open, after having reeled off three straight wins in the 2015 championship, justifying a Wild Card given by the United States Tennis Association. Subhash had then earned the distinction of being the youngest Indian American tennis player to play a Grand Slam.
Earlier this year, Subhash played the French Open and the Italian Open, losing in the qualifying rounds. She was entered to play the main draw of Wimbledon, but couldn’t participate because of personal reasons, and didn’t participate in the qualifiers of the Australian Open.
The year 2017 is bound to be a big one for Subhash, as she would be in all likelihood eligible for the main draw of the Grand Slam tournaments, going by her new ranking which came out on Monday.
Subhash is restricted because of her age to playing only a limited number of tournaments as stipulated by the International Tennis Federation.
In November of 2015, Subhash won a rare double: the girls’ singles and doubles titles at the 2015 Atlanta ITF tournament, played on hard courts at the Life Time Athletic at Peachtree Corners. Subhash became the first player of Indian-origin to achieve the rare double in an international tennis tournament.
Subhash, who is now home schooled, trains at 4 Star Tennis Academy, under coach Bear Schofield.
Earlier this year, in March, Subhash, who went to South America as part of a US team, had a great run in both the tournaments she played: Grade 1 Banana Bowl in Sao Paolo, and the Grade A Campeonato Internacional Juvenil de Tenis de Porto Alegre, in Brazil.
Subhash, who was unseeded in both the tournaments, reached the girls’ singles quarter-finals and the girls’ doubles semi-finals at the Banana Bowl, and the girls’ singles semi-finals and the girls doubles final in the Porto Alegre tournament. Caty McNally partnered Subhash in the girls’ doubles in both the tournaments, played on red clay courts.
Natasha is the daughter of Subhash Kongassery and Sulekha Subhash, who emigrated to the United States in 1997, from Delhi. The couple, who are from Kerala, grew up in Delhi. Sulekha is a teacher, while Subhash Kongassery is an IT professional in the Washington, DC area.