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Vijay Kannan overcomes Gurmehar

By Kamesh Srinivasan

NEW DELHI, JUNE 14. Gurmehar Singh fought hard against the fourth-seeded Vijay Kannan, but at the fag end of the match. Saving a match-point in the seventh game of the second set, Gurmehar stretched the contest to three more games before losing 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the ITF Satellite tennis circuit second leg at the DLTA Complex here on Monday.

The strongly-built son of Ajitpal Singh, the captain of the 1975 World Cup winning Indian hockey team, played well, but only in patches. The disappointment was that he demonstrated only a small percentage of what he can actually do on a tennis court.

Pitted against the seasoned Vijay, the Afro-Asian Games champion, Gurmehar stumbled to an indifferent start losing the first service game. He fought back to break even in the next game, but got broken in the ninth game to lose the momentum.

Into the second set, Gurmehar lacked the self-belief, even as the crafty stroking Vijay denied him the pace to play his strokes with felicity. With breaks in the first and third games, Vijay raced to a 5-1 lead, but double-faulted on the second breakpoint to surrender a break in the eighth game.

There was some drama in the tenth game, when Gurmehar forced three breakpoints, but Vijay played sharp in converting his third match-point to emerge victorious in about two hours.

Vijay will meet the wild card entrant, Aqueel Khan of Pakistan, who saw through the teasing game of Saurav Panja, with his steady game.

With the rest of the first round matches scheduled for Tuesday, Prahlad Srinath drew some more attention on to himself with a well-crafted three-set victory over the young Vishnu Vardhan, in the final qualifying round.

The two Pakistanis, Shahzad Khan and Jaleel Khan, thrashed it out between themselves in about three hours in the third and final qualifying round, with the former emerging the victor.

The results:

Singles (first round): Vijay Kannan bt Gurmehar Singh 6-4, 6-4; Aqeel Khan (Pak) bt Saurav Panja 6-2, 7-5; Mait Kunnap (Est) bt Timothy Patient (GBR) 6-4, 6-4.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Ajay Ramaswami & Vishaal Uppal bt David Brewer & Richard Irwin (GBR) 7-6 (7-4) retired; Mait Kunnap (Est) & Pathanjali Ravishankar bt Aqeel Khan & Shahzad Khan (Pak) 6-3, 6-2; Kamala Kannan & Jaco Mathew bt Luke Campbell & Timothy Patient (GBR) 6-1, 6-1; Joshua Goodall & Ross Hutchins (GBR) bt Wrik Ganguly & Siddharth Gulati 6-2, 6-2; Ashutosh Singh & Gurmehar Singh bt Shivang Mishra & Saurav Panja 6-3, 6-4; Saurabh Kohli & Sunil Kumar bt Yannick Nelord & Shreyansh Sacheti 7-5, 6-2; Rishi Sridhar & Vinod Sridhar bt Jaume Barberan-Miguel & Roger Lacaci-Dominguez (Esp) 6-1, 6-4; Norikazu Sugiyama (Jpn) & Vijay Kannan bt Atsufumi Yoshikawa (Jpn) & Hiu-Tung Yu (Hkg) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Singles qualifying event (third and final round): Rishi Sridhar bt Sandeep Choudhary 6-4, 6-2; Shivang Mishra bt Anjan iplav 7-6(9-7), 6-1; Shahzad Khan (Pak) bt Jaleel Khan (Pak) 7-5, 5-7, 7-5; Rohan Gide bt Atsufumi Yoshikawa (Jpn) 6-4, 6-2; Mat Lowe (GBR) bt Samarth Gautham 6-1, 7-5; Prahlad Srinath bt J. Vishnu Vardhan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Syed Rahil bt N. Kiran Kumar 6-4, 6-2.

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