CWG Tennis: Paes-Bhupathi cruise into quarter-finals (Roundup)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NEW DELHI - Leading lights of tennis doubles Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi capped a successful day for the Indians at the Commonwealth Games tennis competition entering the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory over Sri Lanka’s Amresh Jayawickreme and Thangarajah Dineshkanthan Tuesday.

All the Indians on view on the second day of the Games advanced without any hiccups.

Top seed Somdev Devvaraman shrugged off an indifferent start to storm into the second round of the men’s singles with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Devin Mullings of Bahamas while Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesha breezed into the women’s doubles quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of Maldives. The two are now up against second seeds Sarah Borwell and Anna Smith.

Playing the last match on the centre court, Paes and Bhupathi, riding on their 24 consecutive Davis Cup wins, played majestically during their 67-minute victory though Sri Lankan youngsters produced some splendid stuff drawing applause from a heavily partisan crowd. The Indians now play England’s Josh Goodall and James Ward.

“The boys were really talented. One of them had a really good backhand. It was hard work,” Paes said.

Bhupathi agreed. “We were never able to move out of the first gear. It’s always tough to go through the motions. But the we didn’t have much to do and we were focussing on our serves and returns.”

Earlier in the day, it took Somdev, ranked 97 on the Association of Tennis Professionals charts, only 85 minutes to close the match under a baking sun at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex, but it required greater effort than the straight-set score suggests.

The Bahamian Davis Cupper took off with his solid serve and the India No.1 struggled to find his rhythm and also to land his first serve in. He, however, was quick to bury the ghost and once held his serve in the fourth game of the match, there was no looking back.

The spring in Somdev’s step was back and his serve, too. He fired 10 aces as the heat started to work to his advantage and Mullings began to tire. The long rallies sapped the energies of the Bahamian by the time the second set began.

“I played a lose first game to go down a break, but after that I didn’t lose the serve in the match. I was a little nervous playing my first Commonwealth Games match but I did well to come back,” Somdev said.

Mulling cruised to a 3-0 lead in the first set before Somdev pulled off two breaks in the seventh and the ninth game. Mullings called for medical attention after the first set and when he returned, he was only a pale shadow of his self.

Somdev was in total control in the second set and, despite facing two break points in the sixth game, he was comfortably through to the next round. Somdev now plays Jayawickreme for a place in the quarterfinals.

Filed under: Commonwealth Games, Tennis

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