The upheaval in the order that saw the departure of a host of men’s and women’s seeds in the first round was absent in the pre-quarterfinals of the National grass-court tennis, which saw most of the remaining big names holding their own at the South Club on Wednesday.
In the women’s section, top-seeded Ankita Raina of Gujarat was in good form dominating wild-card Nithyaraj Baburaj of Tamil Nadu 6-1, 6-1. Fourth-seeded Nidhi Chilumula of Andhra Pradesh also had few problems in getting past Namita Bal of Maharashtra 6-2, 6-2.
Third-seeded Prarthana Thombre of Maharashtra was locked in a tough battle with Sharmada Balu of Delhi. Poor light forced their match to remain unfinished at an interesting stage. Both had won a set each while the decider was tied at 4-4.
Bhuvana Kalva of Andhra Pradesh pulled off the only notable upset of the day sweeping past eighth-seeded Vanya Dangwal of Delhi. Bhuvana, who will be meeting Ankita in the quarterfinals, showed good form on grass as she overshadowed her eighth-seeded opponent 6-1, 6-1.
The four seeds in men’s action — second-seeded Nitten Kirrtane of Maharashtra, fifth-seeded Abhijeet Tiwari of Chandigarh, sixth-seeded Ramkumar Ramanathan of Tamil Nadu and eighth-seeded Saurav Sukul of Bengal — moved up in contrasting styles.
While Kirrtane and Ramanathan notched up comfortable straight-set wins over unseeded opponents, Tiwari had to work hard to better unseeded Sagar Manjanna of Karnataka. Tiwari overcame a shaky start, which saw him losing the first set, before he levelled the issue winning the second. Tiwari won the decider in the tie-breaker to ensure his survival. Sukul earned a walkover as his opponent Vinod Sridhar of Tamil Nadu pulled out with a wrist injury.
Return to form
Rupesh Roy of Bengal made a remarkable return to form downing higher-ranked Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash in a well contested three-setter. Roy lost the opening set 6-3, but fought back to win the second 7-6(4). Roy broke Jayaprakash twice in the decider while losing serve once to win the set 6-4.
Men (pre-quarterfinals): Mohamnmad Fariz (TN) bt Kunal Anand (Del) 6-2, 7-6(4); Ronak Manuja (Mah) bt Ajai Selvaraj (TN) 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4; Elwin Anthony (TN) bt Manoj Sewa (Ben) 7-6(2), 6-1; Saurav Sukul (Ben) w/o Vinod Sridhar (TN); Abhijeet Tiwari (Chg) bt Sagar Manjanna (Kar) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(3); Rupesh Roy (Ben) bt Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash (TN) 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4; Ramkumar Ramanathan (TN) bt Yash Deshpandey (Mah) 6-3, 6-1; Nitten Kirrtane (Mah) bt Vinod Sewa (Ben) 6-1, 6-1.
Women (pre-quarterfinals): Ankita Raina (Guj) bt Nithyaraj Baburaj (TN) 6-1, 6-1; Bhuvana Kalva (AP) bt Vaniya Dangwal (Del) 6-1, 6-1; Rushmi Chakravarthi (TN) bt Aranxta Andrady (Del) 6-1, 6-1; Mahita Reddy (AP) bt Renu Sharma (NTA) 6-2, 6-4; Nidhi Chilumula (AP) bt Mamita Bal (Mah) 6-2, 6-2; Natasha Palha (Goa) bt Victoria Chehal (NTA) 6-0, 6-0; Shivika Burman (Ben) bt Amala Amol Warrick (Kar) 6-1, 7-5.
Keywords: National grass-court tennis