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

Aqeel and Vinod to vie for singles honours

By Kamesh Srinivasan

NEW DELHI, OCT. 8. The spotlights may not be trained on him, but Aqeel Khan is not complaining. The 24-year-old Pakistani played with quiet efficiency while beating the 18-year-old Karan Rastogi 7-5, 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals of the DSCL National tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

Aqeel was a break down in the decider as he trailed 1-3, but a spell of loose play from Karan provided him the breakthrough in the fifth game.

Thereafter, Aqeel was his confident self and broke Karan decisively in the 11th game, converting the third breakpoint. He eventually smacked a forehand cross-court to signal victory in a quality contest that spanned two hours and 27 minutes.

"I was not worried even when I was a break down in the third set. I just played my game and was happy to pull it off", said Aqeel, who has lost only to three Indians in ten weeks of international tournaments in India and at home recently.

"I played badly in that fifth game.

He played well on crucial points", said Karan who delighted with his classy game.

He often erred in trying to add punch to his strokes against a crafty opponent who constantly varied the pace.

An authoritative win

The second-seeded Vinod Sridhar will try to stop Aqeel's fine run in the five-set final on the morrow. Both have not played each other and that may be an advantage in a way, for both.

In a battle of left-handers, both former National champions, Vinod played with authority in beating wild card Nitin Kirtane in three sets.

There will be no television cameras trying to beam the action of an interesting Indo-Pakistan final between two quality players.

In the women's section, the third-seeded Sonal Phadke beat the top-seeded Isha Lakhani, a former champion, in straight sets with her compact game, to set up a final against the second-seeded Sanaa Bhambri.

It was a successful day for Sanaa, who combined with Isha to win the women's doubles title, after having made the singles final of both the girls and women's events.

Ajay Ramaswami and Vinod Sridhar clinched the men's doubles title. So, Vinod will also be looking for a double crown.

The results:

Men's singles (semifinals):

Aqeel Khan (Pak) bt Karan Rastogi 7-5, 1-6, 7-5; Vinod Sridhar bt Nitin Kirtane 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Men's doubles (final):

Ajay Ramaswami & Vinod Sridhar bt Kamala Kannan & V.M. Ranjeet 6-2, 6-2.

Women's singles (semifinals): Sonal Phadke bt Isha Lkhani 7-5, 7-5; Sanaa Bhambri bt Sandhya Nagaraj 6-1, 6-1.

Women's doubles (final): Sanaa Bhambri & Isha Lakhani bt Liza Pereira & Sonal Phadke 7-6(7), 6-1.

Boys singles (semifinals): Rupesh Roy bt Rahil Makharia 6-2, 6-4; Vivek Shokeen bt Siddharth Gulati 6-0, 6-3.

Boys doubles (final): Anshuman Dutta & Rupesh Roy bt Sumit Prakash Gupta & Tejasvi Rao 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Girls singles (semifinals): Sanaa Bhambri bt G.K. Shweta 6-3, 2-6, 6-0; Parul Goswami bt Preethi Subramaniam 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Girls doubles (final): G.K. Shweta & Preethi Subramaniam bt Ashmitha Easwamurthi & Parija Maloo 6-2, 7-6(3).

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