Indian men win, women lose tamely

Indian men win, women lose tamely

Guangzhou: Somdev Devvarman and Karan Rastogi steered India to a 3-0 whitewash against a lowly Qatar in the Asian Games men’s tennis competition, but got crashed out of the women’s team event after being drubbed 0-3 by Indonesia in the first round, here on Saturday.

Rastogi gave India a blistering start with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Al Mutawa Jabor Mohammed in 46 minutes, before Somdev showed equally ruthless approach in brushing aside Zayed Mousa Shanon in 38 minutes in the centre court of the Aoti Tennis centre.

Somdev later combined forces with Sanam Singh and outclassed Zayid Mubarak Shannan and Al Haretth Abdulrahman Ali 6-0 6-1 to complete the rout.

Rastogi, who served two second-set aces and hit 15 service winners in all, broke his Qatar rival Al Mutawa in the second game of the first set but was broken back immediately.

However, he picked up his pace soon after to go 3-1 up with his second service break and then did not drop a single game to win the opening set 6-1 in 22 minutes.

The Indian player grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second set before he dropped his serve, but then surged to take the next three games for the set and match.

Thereafter, 25-year-old Indian No 1 singles player Somdev, ranked 106 in the world, fired an ace each in the two sets and hit 16 service winners.

After clinching the opening set in only 16 minutes, Somdev allowed his rival to hold his serve once before closing out the second in 22 minutes.

“I played very well. It is a good start and it is also a good experience for me. I think I can do a good job in the next matches," Somdev said after his easy victory.

But with India set to take on Thailand next, he exercised caution, saying the rivals would be tough nut to crack with the defending men’s singles champion in their ranks.

“Thailand team has many good players, especially their No 1 (Danai) Udamchoke. He won a gold medal in Doha (in 2006 in singles), so it will be tough for us," he said.

Meanwhile, in contrast to the men counterparts, the women team’s performance, in the absence of Sania Mirza, who is down with a throat infection, was feeble against the strong Indonesian outfit.

Poojashree Venkatesha fought well before going down to Tananta Lavinia after a marathon battle lasting over two hours. The Indian took the opening set 6-2 before losing the next two 7-5 6-2.

Veteran Nirupama Sanjeev, who is more into playing the doubles, was no match in fitness to her younger rival Ayu Kade Damayanti and lost 6-1 6-1 in 56 minutes.

Later Nirupama and Rushmi Chakravarthi, another seasoned campaigner, could not do much in the doubles match against Nany Basuki Suharyadi and Jessy Priskila Rompies and went down tamely 6-2 6-1 in just under an hour.

Rastogi, when asked about whether the women’s exit would affect the men’s performance in the quarterfinals, said, “It won’t really affect us. Of course it’s disappointing. Sania didn’t play because of her health problems but it always happens in sports," he said.

The Indians have come here without ‘Indian Express´ duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi who are busy playing in the pro doubles circuit and Rastogi said though the team misses them but other players have to buck up and do well.

“They are our top players. Of course, we miss them but we need to concentrate on our games. I have young teammates who are also good," he said.