Asian Games tennis: Sania in quarters, Somdev, Rastogi progress

Friday, November 19, 2010

GUANGZHOU - India’s Sania Mirza cruised into the quarterfinals of the women’s singles with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory over sixth-seeded Chinese Shuai Zhang in the Asian Games tennis here Friday.

The 166th-ranked Indian took one hour and 17 minutes to beat Zhang, who had defeated Sania at the Guangzhou Open here September. Sania, a silver medallist in Doha Games, now plays 33-year-old Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn, who is seeded second.

In the men’s singles, Somdev Devvarman and Karan Rastogi stormed into the third round with thumping victories. It took mere 37 minutes for second-seeded Somdev to blaze into the third round with a 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Jabor Mohammed Al Mutawa of Qatar. He next plays 16th-seeded Vaja Uzakov of Uzbekistan.

Rastogi, seeded seventh, also thrashed Turkmenistan’s Myalikkuli Mamedkuliyev 6-0, 6-0 and will take on 10th-seeded Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei.

The sixth-seeded pair of Somdev and Sanam Singh then combined to beat Johnny Arcilla and Ruben Jr. Gonzales of Philippines 6-4, 6-2. The Indians will face China’s Bai Yan and Zhang Ze in the quarter-final.

In the women’s singles encounter, Sania and Shuai traded too many breaks, but the Indian was a notch better in making less errors and also holding her service games at crucial time.

Sania broke the sixth-seeded Chinese early in the match for a 3-1 lead. She then saved two break points in the seventh. Sania put pressure on Shuai’s serve and earned a set point, hitting a stinging backhand deep and low.

The Chinese hung on, but Sania showed streak of aggressive tennis to earn another set point and this time closing it out as Shuai’s backhand hit the net.

Shuai came back strongly in the second set, breaking Sania, once ranked 27th in the world, in the first game. Sania pulled one off immediately to draw level.

Stepping up her game, Sania stretched Shuai to the corners with her deep groundstrokes and went up 40-0 on Shuai’s serve, eventually breaking the Chinese in the sixth game to lead 4-2.

Shuai showed signs of resurgence as she played her best tennis in the next game. Down 0-40, the Chinese reeled off four points in a row to stand on the verge of breaking back. Sania managed to hold on and had a match point when Shuai committed a double fault in the next game. Sania finished the match with a forehand winner.

Filed under: Tennis

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