Improved performances expected from Indians in ATP meet

May 18th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) An improved performance will be expected from the Indian tennis players as they enter another $50,000 ATP Challenger tournament starting at the DLTA complex here Monday. Two of the Indian Davis Cup singles players Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna were in the draw of the $50,000 SAIL Open Challenger. While Prakash lost in the first round, Bopanna partnering Pakistani Aisam-ul-Haq Quereshi lost in the first round of the doubles match and later pulled out of the singles because of his knee injury.

Only grass-court national champion Ashutosh Singh could make it to the second round where he surrendered meekly to Australian Colin Ebelthite, losing in straight sets.

However, another $50,000 tournament in successive week will give Indians an opportunity to prove their credentials. Even though some of the players have pulled out of the second challenger, the top eight seeds remain, barring Australian Alun Jones who was seeded fifth the previous week.

The pull-out by foreign players has given chance to Indian Sunil Kumar Sipaeya in the singles main draw. He could not make it to the singles of the first challenger as he lost in the qualifying round. He, however, played the doubles with American Travis Rettenmaier but the pair lost in the first round.

Five Indians will be competing in the singles draw. They will have a better chance to score upsets since they are likely to gauge the game of their opponents and have worked on their shortcoming.

Top-seed and the winner of the SAIL Open challenger Yen-sun Lu, world no. 90, will be the favourite once again to win the event. Sixth-seeded Brendan Evans, who missed the title narrowly in a thrilling three-setter in the finals would be hoping to have another shot at the title.

Wild-card holder Muhammad Ghareeb of Kuwait looked a far better player in the first challenger. Even though Ghareeb lost to fourth-seeded Japanese Go Soeda in the pre-quarters, he impressed with his power-packed play and big serve.

Heat and humidity will continue to play crucial factor even though showers and dust storm in last couple of days has made weather a bit cooler.

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