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Resurgent Tabara in semifinals

By Khalyan N. Ashok



Czech Republic's Michal Tabara makes a backhand return en route to victory over Dieter Kindlmann of Germany in the ATP Challenger Series at Tumkur on Friday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

TUMKUR Oct. 3. Two years ago in July 2001, Czech professional Michal Tabara enjoyed a career high ranking of 47 and had won a major ATP title (in Chennai), which remains his biggest triumph. But times have changed for the 24-year-old Tabara as he was beset with injuries and tumbled past the 200-mark. He is now battling to regain the form and status he once enjoyed on the Tour.

Tabara's march has been slow, but he is happy that he is at least moving up. At the Mahatma Gandhi Stadium on Friday, Tabara came back from a set down to beat unseeded Dieter Kindlmann of Germany in two hours at 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to enter the semifinals of the $ 25,000 ATP Challenger championship.

Also making the last four round were the fourth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, qualifier Lee Childs of Great Britain and Germany's Phillipp Kohlschreiber. In the semifinals on Saturday, Baghdatis meets Childs while Kohlschreiber clashes with Tabara.

The Tabara-Kindlmann encounter was an apt lesson for any aspiring Tour pro, as neither gave anything away while waging a relentless baseline battle. Tabara fired 10 aces during the course of the tie to hold the psychological edge. The two were involved in quite a few long rallies, churned out groundstrokes with precision and kept varying the pace and angles while trying to unsettle each other.

The first two sets went without any break and were settled through tie-breakers.

In the first set tie-breaker, Tabara trailed 1-4 after a series of poor returns but cut the deficit to 3-4. Kindlmann, however, swung the set his way with a drop volley and then blasted a forehand winner to take a 6-3 lead. Tabara netted a low backhand volley to drop the set.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Tabara and Kindlmann content on winning their service games. The Czech star, however, faced two break points in the seventh game before holding on. Kindlmann then recovered from 0-30 down to hold serve in the 12th game and pushed the set into a tie-breaker and went on to win it.

In the decider, a resurgent Tabara stepped up the pace while Kindlmann wilted under a series of double-faults and mishits.

Prakash-de Voest in last four

Prakash Amritraj, despite his early exit from the singles event, delighted the fans again with his serve and volley game. Prakash and his South African partner, Rik de Voest, stormed into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 decision over Ti Chen and Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Taiwan.

The Indian duo of Vijay Kannan and Ajay Ramaswamy, however, went down to the German pair of Marcello Craca and Oliver Marach at 6-2, 6-4.

The results (prefix denotes seedings):

Singles (quarterfinals): 4-Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) bt Stephane Bohli (Sui) 6-3, 5-7, 6-0; 5-Michal Tabara (Cze) bt Dieter Kindlmann (Ger) 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2; Phillipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Lee Martin (GBr) 6-0, 7-6 (7-5); Lee Childs (GBr) bt Fransesco Aldi (Ita) 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 6-4.

Doubles: 4-Prakash Amritraj (Ind)/Rik de Voest (RSA) bt Ti Chen/Yeu Tzuoo Wang (Tpe) 6-4, 6-3; Marcello Craca/Oliver Marach (Ger) bt Vijay Kannan/Ajay Ramaswamy (Ind) 6-2, 6-4; Michal Mertinak/Branislav Sekac (Svk) bt Stephane Bohli/Michael Lammer (Sui) 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.

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