SAG tennis: Indians ensure three golds

India’s strong presence was highlighted by the outstanding performance of its Davis Cup players, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan, in the men’s category and the Fed Cup players, Ankita Raina and Prerna Bhambri, in the women’s section.

Saketh Myneni in action at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

India ensured three gold medals in tennis with its players having an overpowering presence in the singles and doubles events here on Tuesday.

India’s strong showing was highlighted by the outstanding performance of its Davis Cup players, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan, in the men’s section and the Fed Cup players, Ankita Raina and Prerna Bhambri, in the women’s section. In mixed doubles,Sanam Singh and Prarthana Thombre and Divij Sharan and Ankita Raina sailed into the final round, making it an all-India affair.

The presence of India's best players made it difficult for the opponents, who could not win a single set against the host across the draw in all categories. Myneni, who came here straight after playing the semi-finals in a $75000 Challenger tournament in Australia, was in imperious form against Dipu Lal of Bangladesh in the men’s quarterfinals. The Indian allowed just one game to his Bangladesh opponent while booking a berth in the final, with a 6-0, 6-1 scoreline. Top-seeded Myneni’s dominant performance came after young Ramkumar Ramanathan had brushed aside the challenge of one of the top players from Pakistan, Aqeel Khan, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

Ramanathan, who made news by reaching the quarterfinals of the ATP Chennai Open last month, had little trouble in getting past the Pakistani. He impressed with his control and precision and hardly gave any chance to his seasoned opponent to settle down. Ramanathan will take on Shamal Dissanayake of Sri Lanka in the semi-finals while Myneni will meet the veteran of the international circuit, Aisam Qureshi, in the other match.

Returning from a good Fed Cup tie against Japan, where she beat the World No. 56 Nao Hibino last week, Ankita Raina gave Sara Mansoor of Pakistan little allowance in her game. Raina won 6-1, 6-1 to progress to the final where she will meet her compatriot and four-time National champion Prerna Bhambri. Showing equal intensity like the top-seeded Ankita, Prerna outclassed the top Pakistani player Ushna Suhail 6-1, 6-2.

The results (all Indians unless specified):

Men’s singles quarterfinals: Saketh Myneni bt Dipu Lal (Ban) 6-0, 6-1, Shamal Dissanayake (Sri) bt Mohammed Faris (Mdv) 6-1, 6-0, Aisam Ulhaq Qureshi (Pak) bt Harshanna Godamanna (Sri) 6-4, 7-6(1), Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Aqueel Khan (Pak) 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles semi-finals: R. Ramanathan & Vijay Sundar Prasanth bt D. Thengarajan & Yasitha De Silva (Sri) 6-3, 6-1, Divij Sharan & Sanam Singh bt H. Godamanna & S. Dassanayake (Sri) 6-3, 6-1.

Women’s singles semi-finals: Ankita Raina bt Sara Mansoor (Pak) 6-1, 6-1, Prerna Bhambri bt Ushana Suhail (Pak) 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles quarterfinals: Prarthana Thombre & Sharmada Balu bt Sarah Mansoor & Aiman Qureshi (Pak) 6-0, 6-2, Rishika Sunkara & Natasha Palha bt Ushna Sarah Mehboob (Pak) 6-1, 6-2,

Mixed doubles semi-finals: Sanam Singh & Prarthana Thombre bt H. Godamanna & A. Muttiah (Sri) 6-3, 6-1, Divij Sharan & Ankita Raina bt Aisam Qureshi & Ushna Suhail (pak) 6-1, 6-4.