Tennis – The doubles stars flopped last week but Eetee Mehata and Sharmadaa Baluu brough in some cheer for the Indian tennis fans in this week’s recap.
Mirza, Paes, Bopanna Lose Early
Following the recent highs on the doubles circuit, last week was a disastrous one for India’s top doubles stars. After winning three successive titles, the pairing of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis tasted their first defeat in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, going down to Petra Martic / Stephanie Ida Vogt 3-6, 3-6. Perhaps we can put it down to fatigue as the duo were playing for the seventh week in a row and were just coming off a hectic Fed Cup campaign for their respective nations.
Meanwhile at the Barcelona Open, the newly-formed duo of Leander Paes/ Daniel Nestor lost in the first round for the second successive week, this time to the Spanish duo of David Marrero/ Tommy Robredo and at the ATP event in Bucharest, second seeds Rohan Bopanna/ Florin Mergea went down to eventual champions Marius Copil/ Adrian Ungur in the quarter-finals.
Indian Men’s Tennis players struggle on the Circuit
The men on the ATP Challenger/ ITF Futures circuit didn’t fare any better this pastweek. Somdev Devvarman was beaten in the first round of the Sarasota Challenger in three sets by Gastao Elias, who also beat the other Indian in the draw – Sanam Singh in the second round. Devvarman/ Singh combined in the doubles but went down in the first round as did the second seeds Purav Raja/ Fabrice Martin.
On the ITF circuit, teenager Sasi Kummar Mukund reached the second round in Spain losing to fourth seed Flavio Cipolla; second seeded Saketh Myneni suffered a surprising early loss in the first round in Thailand to American qualifier Andre Dome. At the same event, Karunuday Singh lost in the first round to top seed Ti Chen, who also took care of Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash in the second round. Myneni did manage to salvage the week by reaching the semi-finals of the doubles event with Chen.
Eetee Mehata and Sharmadaa Baluu Bring In Some Good News
The best performance of the week came in from the youngster Eetee Mehata, who made it all the way to the semi-finals of the ITF event in Tunisia. 19-year-old Mehata upset the third seed Anastasiya Saitova in the first round before losing to Janneke Winnerink and also reached the doubles final with Greta Moukrousova, where they were beaten by Jenny Claffey/ Kathinka Von Deichmann
Elsewhere for the women, Dhruthi Tatachar Venugopal lost in the second round at the ITF event in Egypt to top seed Amandine Hesse; Ashmitha Easwaramurthi lost in the first round of the singles and the second round of the doubles; and in Greece, Sharmadaa Balluu reached the doubles final with Fatma Al Nabhani where they lost to Moser/ Anna Bondar. Baluu has been on quite a roll on the doubles circuit in recent months, having reached three finals and three other semi-finals in her last seven events.
Finally, India’s No. 1 Ankita Raina managed to get into the qualifying draw at this week’s WTA event in Marrakech but was beaten 5-7, 1-6 in the first round by Alberta Brianti
Sania Mirza continues to remain atop the world doubles rankings for the third week in a row, followed by Ankita Raina at No. 282 in the doubles ranking. Raina drops 13 spots to No. 235 this week this week in singles where Prarthana Thombare and Natasha Palha climb 7 spots each to No. 496 and 529.
Among the men, Somdev Devvarman drops one spot to No. 169 while Yuki Bhambri moves up two spots to No. 216, Lower down the order, Snaam Singh climbs 23 spots to no. 355 and in doubles, Paes holds to No. 23 while Bopanna drops to No. 26.