SPORT

Bopanna surrenders to Kedriouk

Alexey Kedriouk who toppled Rohan Bopanna. — Photo: S. Subramanium  

NEW DELHI, FEB. 26. Rohan Bopanna struggled to get rid of the rustiness in his game, though he looked fit, as he surrendered rather tamely to the fifth-seeded Alexey Kedriouk of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals of the Syndicate Bank $10,000 ITF men's Futures tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Bopanna got off to a bad start as he slipped to 0-4 within no time, and could not recover ground despite making an honest attempt to revive his fortunes. The tall Kazakh emphasised his willingness to fight it out in a slam-bang game, as he saved umpteen breakpoints in the fourth game, in making a telling statement about his urge to move ahead of the Indian Davis Cupper.

Bopanna did recover ground with some sharp play, but he continued to err with the put aways that cost him dearly. Bopanna tried the serve and volley game much late with some success, but an early break in the second set proved decisive.

Kedriouk too made mistakes but had the intensity of concentration to keep the flow in his favour. He served and stroked with purpose in running away to a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in an hour and 15 minutes.

Bopanna was rattled a bit when he twisted his ankle while running to his left for a return, but was generally quite comfortable with his game. The arrival of the Doordarshan outdoor broadcasting vans, for `live' coverage from Friday, midway through his match did not inspire Bopanna much.

Overall, he could feel happy about returning to the circuit after many weeks of inaction following a bicep and tricep injury. He did pull off two wins, albeit against easy opponents. It may take a little more time for Bopanna to play his normal authoritative game, and he looked in no hurry to speed up his way for better results, perhaps for fear of suffering another breakdown.

The second-seeded Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan, the top-seeded Todor Enev of Bulgaria and the third-seeded Orest Tereshchuk of Ukraine were the others to make the semifinals.

Tereshchuk had to really use the last ounce of his energy in beating Filip Urban of Poland in the third set tie-break in a long-drawn battle that lasted two hours and 36 minutes.

Qureshi mixed up the serve and volley game with strong groundstrokes to get past the seventh-seeded Chinese left-hander Xin-Yuan Yu.

There was some cheer for the Indian camp as the second-seeded Mustafa Ghouse and Vishaal Uppal made the doubles final. The duo will be challenged by the top-seeded Alexey Kedriouk and Orest Tereshchuk on Friday evening.

The results:

Singles (quarterfinals): Todor Enev (Bul) bt Febi Widhiyanto (Ina) 6-1, 6-2; Orest Tereshchuk (Ukr) bt Filip Urban (Pol) 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5); Alexey Kedriouk (Kaz) bt Rohan Bopanna 6-3, 6-3; Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak) bt Xin-Yuan Yu (Chn) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

Doubles (semifinals): Alexey Kedriouk (Kaz) and Orest Tereshchuk (Ukr) bt Murad Inoyatov and Dmitri Mazur (Uzb) 6-3, 7-5; Mustafa Ghouse and Vishaal Uppal bt Prima Simpatiaji and Febi Widhiyanto (Ina) 6-4, 7-5.