K.C. Vijaya Kumar
CHIKMAGLUR: Karan Rastogi upset fourth-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland 6-4, 6-1 to enter the quarterfinals of the Coffee Cup ATP Challenger tournament at the Centenary Stadium courts here on Thursday. The 19-year-old player's triumph was welcome news on a day when seventh-seeded Rohan Bopanna lost 6-7(8), 4-6 to unseeded Toshihide Matsui of Japan.
Minutes after Bopanna's exit, Rastogi stepped into the centre court and played with poise. "I had nothing to lose. He is a higher ranked player but I was confident of winning," he later revealed.
The double-fisted backhands were revving smooth, the serves were sharp and in the odd charge towards the net, he mixed his volleys well to unhinge his rival's game.
The first set began on a mundane note as the duo held their serves in the first four games before Kubot broke the unseeded Indian's serve in the fifth game. However, Rastogi broke back in the very next game and the fight was well and truly on.
Serving in the seventh game, Kubot held Rastogi to deuce, but the Indian served an ace and followed it with a long rally topped with a drop shot in his brief dash to the net. Rastogi broke the Pole again in the tenth game with a deft volley to clinch the first set.
In the second, Kubot struggled, barely holding serve in the second game before caving in without a fight. And in a final flourish, Rastogi fired three aces to clinch the match in style.
"The plan was not to let him get into his comfort zone near the net and I did well," Rastogi said. He served seven aces to Kubot's three and had a lone double fault while the Polish player had three. Rastogi also had 14 winners while Kubot struggled with 28 unforced errors.
Top seed Hyung Taik Lee of Korea and Go Soeda of Japan also advanced into the quarterfinals.
In the doubles quarterfinals, the third-seeded Indian duo of Prakash Amritraj and Bopanna lost to Luke Bourgeois of Australia and Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland 4-6, 4-6.
The results: Singles (second round): Toshihide Matsui (Jpn) bt Rohan Bopanna 7-6(8), 6-4; Go Soeda (Jpn) bt Aleksandar Vlaski (SCG) 6-3, 2-6, 6-0; Karan Rastogi bt Lukasz Kubot (Pol) 6-4, 6-1; Hyung Taik Lee (Kor) bt Marco Chiudinelli (Sui) 6-4, 6-4.
Doubles (quarterfinals): Yen Hsun Lu (Tpe)/Danai Udomchoke (Tha) bt Ravishankar Pathanjali/Vinod Sridhar 7-6(4), 6-4; Sanchai Ratiwatana (Tha)/Sonchat Ratiwatana (Tha) bt Victor Bruthans (Svk)/Jan Masik (Cze) 2-6, 6-2, 10-5; Luke Bourgeois (Aus)/Marco Chiudinelli (Sui) bt Prakash Amritraj/Rohan Bopanna 6-4, 6-4; Lukasz Kubot (Pol)/Pavel Snobel (Cze) bt Jesse Huta Galung (Ned)/Laurent Recouderc (Fra) 6-1, 6-4.