Friday, August 24, 2007

No singles for Indian men at US Open

With both Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna bowing out in the qualifiers, India will not be represented in the men's singles main draw at US Open 2007.

Amritraj, ranked 270th in the world, lost in the first round of the qualifiers to 17-year-old Kei Nishikori of Japan. Amritraj won the first set before Nishikori, ranked just one place above him on the ATP list, rolled out a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win.

In all fairness, Amritraj was hampered by a torn ligament on his left wrist which restricted him to a one-handed backhand. The 23-year-old son of former tennis star Vijay Amritraj is scheduled to have surgery in Los Angeles after he returns from New York.

In 2002, just before he turned pro, Prakash made it to the main draw of the US Open before losing to Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan in straight sets.


India's no. 1 Rohan Bopanna did one better than Amritraj this year, reaching the second round of qualifying before losing to 19th seed Pablo Cuevas. The 21-year-old Uruguayan was made to work hard before carving out a 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 7-5 victory.

The 223-ranked Bopanna had beaten Frenchman Julien Jeanpierre in straight sets in the first round.


But there was hope yet for India in the women's singles qualifiers with 219th-ranked Sunitha Rao just one match away from the main draw.

Rao beat 125th-ranked Varvara Lepchenko of Uzbekistan in the second round of qualifying. A hard-fought first set went 7-5 in Sunitha's favour before she blanked Lepchenko in the second to record her second career victory over the Tashkent girl. Their head-to-head tally now stands at 2-2.

In the first round, Rao had beaten Romanian Monica Niculescu, ranked one place higher than her on the WTA list, in a three-setter 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

The draws for the doubles events at the 2007 US Open were yet to be announced at the time of writing this post.

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