Natl Grass Court C'ship: Suraj through to semis

Suraj Prabodh beat Tejas Chaukulkar 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the men’s quarterfinals of the National Grass Court Tennis Championship on Thursday.

Suraj Prabodh

Suraj Prabodh will play former national champion and second seed V.M. Ranjeet in the semifinals.   -  R. Ragu

Suraj Prabodh did his confidence a world of good as he bounced back from a slow start to beat Tejas Chaukulkar 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the men’s quarterfinals of the State Bank of Patiala National grass court tennis championship at the Chandigarh Club on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Suraj, with a limited game, reflected in a modest world rank of 1267, stayed focused to the task of trying his best on each point despite the assertive game of his opponent. ‘’This is what I have been waiting for all along’’, said Suraj, when told that Doordarshan would cover the semifinals on television.

In the semifinals, Suraj will play former national champion and second seed V.M. Ranjeet who was razor sharp in outplaying Shahbaaz Khan for the loss of six games, in an entertaining duel.

Another former national champion Vijay Kannan pulled through to the semifinals with a hard-earned 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory against qualifier Jatin Dhaiya. Vijay, who had lost the national grass court final to Syed Fazaluddin way back in 1999, handled the crunch with calm assurance as he teased and tormented Jatin who was swift on his feet and stroked with flair.

Vijay was scheduled to play the top seed Dalwinder Singh in the semifinals, but there was a big question mark on the match on the morrow. Dalwinder with his big game has been fluent in the last two rounds after a tough start on grass, but a painful inflammation in his abdomen may rule him out of the semifinal on medical grounds.

Dalwinder actually wanted to consult the physio at the start of his quarterfinal but took the court as medical assistance was delayed. After the match, he talked to his coach at the Harvest Academy in Jassowal and was told to forget any further participation in the tournament and take care of his health.

In the women’s section, qualifier Aarushi Kakkar joined the top three players Riya Bhatia, Sai Samhitha and NIdhi Chilumula in the semifinals.

The national hard court champion Riya, who has been cursing the grass surface, but has dropped only three games in all in three rounds, will meet Aarushi. The latter won a tough first round, had a walkover from Samriti Punyani who rushed back to Delhi for an examination, and then cruised past Seerat Kaur Pannu with her stable game.

The results:

Men (quarterfinals): Dalwinder Singh bt Param Pun 6-2, 6-4; Vijay Kannan bt Jatin Dhaiya 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Suraj Prabodh bt Tejas Chaukulkar 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; V.M. Ranjeet bt Shahbaaz Khan 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles (semifinals): Param Pun & Hardeep Singh Sandhu bt Vilasier Khate & Ranjeet Singh 6-2, 6-3; Armaan Bhatia & Ishaque Eqbal bt Abhinansu Borthakur & Saurav Sukul 6-1, 6-2.

Quarterfinals: Abhinansu Borthakur & Saurav Sukul bt Siddarth Ponnala & Suraj Prabodh 6-3, 6-4.

Women (quarterfinals): Riya Bhatia bt Sara Yadav 6-0, 6-2; Aarushi Kakkar bt Seerat Kaur Pannu 6-1, 6-2; Nidhi Chilumula bt Himani Mor 6-0, 6-1; Sai Samhitha bt Kaavya Sawhney 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles (semifinals): Nidhi Chilumula & Moulika Ram bt Yubrani Banerjee & Neeru Rapria 6-1, 6-2; Sai Samhitha & Amrita Mukherjee bt HImani Mor & Dakshata Patel 6-1, 6-1.

Quarterfinals: Himani Mor & Dakshata Patel bt Vasavi Ganesan & Arthi

Muniyan 7-6(5), 4-6 (conceded).