Indian challenge is over in Challenger singles

May 21st, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) The remaining two Indians in the singles were knocked out of the $50,000 Challenger tennis tournament Wednesday as Ashutosh Singh and Vishu Vardhan lost their pre-quarter-final matches here at the DLTA Complex. While Ashutosh went down fighting to fourth-seeded Japanese Go Soeda, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, Vardhan was shown the door by Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Quereshi who beat him 6-3,7-5.

Ashutosh struggled to keep pace with the Japanese. The national grasscourt champions was tentative as he could not control his shots and the set was gone as he was broken twice even before he could loosen up.

Egged on by a band of youngsters in the stands, Ashutosh upped his game in the second set and his volleying was excellent. He used the Japanese pace to counterattack to take the set by effecting the break in the eighth game.

The decider was a battle of nerves and Ashutosh was found wanting when it came to playing big points. Like in the first set, it was a matter of who blinks first as both the players had little difficulty in holding their serve till the eighth game when Soeda broke the Indian’s serve.

Vardhan, who impressed with his big serve and power play against teenager Yuki Bhambri in the first round, was in all sorts of problems in the first set against fifth-seeded Quereshi who clinched it with a break in the sixth game.

The Indian was lot more confident in playing his shots in the second set, but that was not enough to rattle Quereshi who served with gusto. Vardhan’s fight petered out in the eleventh game when he dropped his serve, leaving the the Pakistani to move into the quarter-finals by serving out the set and the match.

Ashutosh, however, entered the semi-finals in doubles partnering Harsh Mankad. The duo beat third-seeded French pair Olivier Charroin and Thomas Oger 406, 7-6, 10-8, and they will play second seeds Purav Raja and Adam Feeney who beat Yuki Bhambri and Kamala Kannan 6-1, 6-1.

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