Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Second seeded Vijay Kannan beat Katsushi Fukuda 7-6(2), 6-2 to enter the semifinals of the GNC-KCG Verghese ITF Futures tournament at the Gandhinagar Club courts on Thursday. He is now the highest ranked player left standing, after Aqeel Khan lost 7-6(7), 6-3, to Ochiai Guilherme.

Kannan faced stiff resistance in the first set; there were no breaks of serve and it was only in the tie-break that Kannan was able to assert his authority, racing to a 4-0 lead, and taking it at two. Kannan then raised his game another notch, and broke his opponent in the third game of the second set; he would break again in the fifth, to snatch a comfortable 5-1 lead.

What separated the two was, the Tamil Nadu boy served very well throughout and barely had any trouble holding on to his serve — in all he had eight aces while his opponent could dish up none.

Guilherme, however, sprang a surprise by defeating Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan. Aqeel held on throughout the first set with some good serving (including five aces), but was unable to make a dent on his opponent, who held on just as easily. In the tie-break, Guilherme went up 3-1, then 5-2; Aqeel made it 5-5 and 6-6, only to then squander a set point and watch his opponent reel off three consecutive points for the set. Aqeel was broken in the eighth game despite previously holding serve comfortably, and fell back 5-3.Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan also made the semifinals, after knocking out Akash Wagh 6-2, 6-4. Jeevan made the doubles final too partnering Vivek Shokeen, after the duo beat top-seeds Vijay Kannan and Ashutosh Singh 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

The results: Singles: Quarterfinals: Vijay Kannan (Ind) bt Katsushi Fukuda (Jpn) 7-6(2), 6-2; Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Akash Wagh 6-2, 6-4; Hsin-Han Lee (Tpe) bt Ito Tatsuma (Jpn) 6-3, 6-1; Ochiai Guilherme (Bra) bt Aqeel Khan (Pak) 7-6(7), 6-3. Doubles: Semifinals: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Ind)/ Vivek Shokeen (Ind) bt Vijay Kannan (Ind)/ Ashutosh Singh (Ind) 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4; Srirambalaji Narayanaswamy (Ind)/ N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth (Ind) bt Lee Hsin-Han (Tpe)/ Chen I-Ta 7-6(4), 7-6(1).

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