Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Karan Rastogi proved the lone exception as other Indian players crashed out in the singles quarterfinals of the Oil India $15,000 ITF men's Futures tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Mumbaikar was stretched fully before he fought his way past Kyu-Tae Im of Korea 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 in a tie that lasted more than two and a half hour.

Having lost to the 783rd ranked Korean rather tamely last week on clay in the second round at Kolkata, Karan knew the importance of taking the first set. He did miss four set-points on the Korean's serve in the tenth game, but Karan showed the required urgency to clinch the tie-break.

After losing the second set, following a break in the sixth game, Karan bounced back quite strongly in the decider, hitting his strokes with a lot of verve and depth, especially on the backhand.

Karan raced to a 4-1 lead despite being broken in the third game, and stayed ahead with a smart game.

The 370th ranked Karan will take on the champion of last week, the sixth-seeded Todor Enev of Bulgaria in the semifinals.

Enev was in a spot of bother after Ashutosh Singh ran away with the first set with a superb all-round game. The Bulgarian turned the table around in the eighth game of the second set when he broke Ashutosh with a string of rousing strokes.

Showing his class

In the decider, Ashutosh showed courage in taking a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game, but he undid the good work by dropping serve at love in the next game. Enev showed his class as he put up a solid performance in the end, winning the last three games without conceding a point.

Vivek Shokeen and Divij Sharan were also unable to stand up to the foreign challenge. In the doubles, National champions, Sandeep Kirtane and Purav Raja made the final at the expense of Sanam Singh and Vivek Shokeen.

The results: Singles (quarterfinals): Hyun-Woo Nam (Kor) bt Vivek Shokeen 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) bt Divij Sharan 6-2, 6-2; Karan Rastogi bt Kyu-Tae Im (Kor) 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3; Todor Enev (Bul) bt Ashutosh Singh 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles (semifinals): Alexei Kedriouk (Kaz)/ Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) bt Stephen Amritraj/ Divij Sharan 7-5, 7-6(4); Sandeep Kirtane/ Purav Raja bt Vivek Shokeen/ Sanam Singh 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

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