SPORT

Rastogi, Vinod Sridhar make semifinals

KOLKATA, MARCH 17. The singles semifinal line-up of the ONGC-ITF Futures tournament resembled a Davis Cup draw as two Indians and two Americans progressed from the quarterfinals to face each other in the last four stage.

The names that emerged triumphant following the quarterfinal action were the Indians Karan Rastogi and Vinod Sridhar and the Americans Adam Fass and Chris Kwon.

Seventh-seeded Sridhar will meet fifth seeded Kwon while two unseeded players — Rastogi against Fass — will fight for a place in the final.

Fass accounted for top seeded Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, Rastogi beat fourth seeded Vishal Uppal before seeing off sixth seeded Nick Monroe (USA) in the quarterfinal. The Indian, who figured as a reserve in the Davis Cup squad, gave ample evidence of his talent in the match against Monroe.

Aggression

Rastogi, fresh from a stint with the famed Nick Bollittieri Tennis Academy, was on the job right from the start and won the first set without any fuss. The Indian served with power and forced rally winners with a fine show of baseline aggression.

With the first set under his belt, the 18-year-old Indian seemed to relax a bit as Monroe worked on his athleticism breaking the former in the sixth game. Just as the match seemed to be withering towards the decider, Rastogi found his rhythm back and levelled breaks in the ninth game to force a tie-breaker. The American gained an early leverage racing to a 5-2 lead but Rastogi won four consecutive points gaining a crucial lead (6-5) and won the tie at 8-6.

Seventh seeded Vinod Sridhar played the shortest tie of the day, lasting just 56 minutes, toppling third seeded Vijay Kannan in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. The third American in the fray, fifth seeded Kwon, also found it easy against the qualifier Wang Cheg Hsieh of Chinese Taipei.

The results (Indians unless specified): Singles (quarterfinals): Adam Fass (U.S.) bt Peter Mayer Tischer (Ger) 6-2, 6-4; Karan Rastogi bt Nick Monroe (USA) 6-3, 7-6(6); Vinod Sridhar bt Vijay Kannan 6-2, 6-2; Chris Kwon (U.S.) bt Wang Cheng Hsieh (Tpe) 6-3, 7-5.

Doubles: Quarterfinals: Wang Cheng Hsieh/Kai Lung Chang (Tpe) bt Rohan Bopanna/Vijay Kannan 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-4); Karan Rastogi/Ashutosh Singh bt Chris Kwon/Nick Monroe (U.S.) 6-4, 6-7(7-4), 7-5; Ajay Ramaswami/Vishal Uppal bt Wang Cheng Hsieh/Kai Lung Chang (Tpe) 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 6-3; Karan Rastogi/Ashutosh Singh bt Sunil Kumar Sipaeya/Peter Mayer Tischer (Ger) 6-4, 7-6(7-5).

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