Monday, September 10, 2007

How India fared at the US Open

It was so near, yet so far. Doubles ace Leander Paes might have been hoping to get his hands on a US Open trophy for the second year running. So what if he and Martin Damm, the defending champions, crashed out in the opening round of the men's doubles.

Partnering Meghann Shaughnessy, Paes raised Indian hopes by storming into the mixed doubles final. But it was not to be. The Belarussian pair of Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi proved too good, carving out a 6-4, 7-6 victory after saving four straight setpoints in the second set tiebreaker.

Azarenka and Mirnyi had also accounted for Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi in the quarter-finals, rolling out a 6-4, 6-1 win.

Bhupathi and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic didn't fare well in the men's doubles either, losing to a pair of home-crowd favourites in the second round.

Mirza's singles campaign may have ended with a loss to eventual semi-finalist Anna Chakvetadze in the third round but she sparkled in the women's doubles -- reaching the quarter-finals with Bethanie Mattek. A hard-fought win over second seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur would have done enough to boost her confidence as a doubles player.

India's campaign in the junior events faltered at the first hurdle - with Poojashree Venkatesh losing both in the singles and doubles. And 15-year-old Yuki Bhambri may have to wait some years before becoming India's next tennis great - he failed to make it to the main draw of the boy's singles.

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With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

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