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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Harsh's experience sees him through

By Kamesh Srinivasan

Photo: S. Subramanium

Somdev Dev Varman, who beat Shivang Mishra in the first round of the ITF Futures tennis tournament in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI NOV. 25. Top-seeded Harsh Mankad got off to an indifferent start, but recovered his composure in time to tame the wild card entrant, R. Arun Prakash 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the first round of the $10,000 ITF Futures tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Tuesday.

In a match, in which both the players relied more on their timing than power, it was Harsh's experience that prevailed in the end, as he tormented the young rival with sharp passing shots.

While Harsh was happy to get into his form, at a leisurely pace though, before his second round against Naim Lalji of Britain, Arun Prakash must have been intrigued about what went wrong, after he had played well in the first set.

In possibly trying to deny the pace for Harsh, the two-time National junior champion, Arun literally played into the hands of the seasoned Davis Cupper, who cut down on his errors as the match progressed.

It may be a difficult challenge in the next round against Lalji, who beat Ajay Ramaswamy in straight sets, but Harsh would be ready to provide a better quality fare.

It was a contrasting fare from the seventh-seeded Mustafa Ghouse who played the first set as if he was on the practice court, serving and stroking with punch, before allowing qualifier Dias Doskarayev of Kazakhstan to walk away with the next two sets. Mustafa's doubles partner, Vishaal Uppal surrendered tamely to Jasper Smit of the Netherlands.

Qualifier Somdev Dev Varman served big as the match progressed and dismissed wild card entrant Shivang Mishra 7-5, 6-1. The latter played well to recover from a break in the first set to make it an even fight, but was far too erratic in the second, even as the athletic Somdev accelerated nicely to a quick finish. Somdev will challenge the eighth-seeded Melvyn Op Der Heijde of the Netherlands.

Vijay Kannan and Punna Vishal were two other Indians to make it to the second round, and they did so with authority against Sarvar Ikramov of Uzbekistan and Robert Haybittel of Australia respectively. While Vijay will meet The results:

Singles (first round): Harsh Mankad bt R. Arun Prakash 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; Naim Lalji (GBR) bt Ajay Ramaswami 7-5, 6-4; Jasper Smit (Ned) bt Vishaal Uppal 6-1, 6-2; Dias Doskarayev (Kaz) bt Mustafa Ghouse 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; Vijay Kannan bt Sarvar Ikramov (Uzb) 6-2, 6-2; Nicky Crawley (GBR) bt Yew-Ming Si (Mas) 6-7 (9-11), 6-1, -4; Sergei Krotiouk (Rus) bt Oleg Ogorodov (Uzb) 6-4, 7-5; Punna Vishal bt Robert Haybittel (Aus) 6-2, 6-4; Matwe Middelkoop (Ned) bt Karan Rastogi 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Somdev Dev Varman bt Shivang Mishra 7-5, 6-1; Mikhail Ledovskikh (Rus) bt Nitin Kirtane 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak) bt Kamala Kannan 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): : Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak) and Harsh Mankad bt Naim Lalji and Michael Ouvarov (GBR) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; Somdev Dev Varman and Karan Rastogi bt Yew-Ming Si (Mas) and Jaco Mathew 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; R. Arun Prakash and Divij Sharan bt Kamala Kannan and Manoj Mahadevan 5-7, 6-3, 6-3; Sarvar Ikramov (Uzb) and Sergei Krotiouk (Rus) bt Nicky Crawley (GBR) and Jasper Smit (Ned) 6-2, 3-1 (retired); Matwe Middelkoop and Melvyn Op Der Heijde (Ned) bt Parantap Chaturvedi and Shivang Mishra 7-5, 6-2; Ajay Ramaswami and Sunil Kumar bt Vinod Sridhar and Vijay Kannan 6-3, 6-4; Nitin Kirtane and Saurav Panja bt Punna Vishal and Ashutosh Singh 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3); Mustafa Ghouse and Vishaal Uppal bt Gafur Ishmatov and Oleg Ogorodov (Uzb) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).

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