India beat New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania zonal tie, Purav Raja reached the semi-finals in Newport and Sriram Balaji walked away with another ITF Futures doubles title. All this and more in our weekly recap of Indian tennis.
India make great comeback to beat the Kiwis in Davis Cup
In the Davis Cup Asia/ Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, India pulled off a great comeback from 1-2 down to win both the reverse singles on Sunday to beat New Zealand 3-2 and advance to the World Group play-offs in September. Yuki Bhambri clinched a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Michael Venus in the decider while Somdev Devvarman had earlier beaten Marcus Daniell 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Bhambri was the hero of the tie as the 23-year-old won both his singles rubbers over the weekend.
At the Newport International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships, Purav Raja/ Fabrice Martin reached the semi-finals where they were beaten by Nicholas Monroe/ Mate Pavic. This was Raja’s best performance on the ATP circuit since his final appearance in Zagreb in February. Divij Sharan and Mohamed Safwat were knocked out in the first round of the ATP Challenger at the San Benedetto, Italy, losing to third seeds Flavio Cipolla and Alessandro Motti 5-7, 2-6. Sharan has now won only one match in his last three tournaments, sending his ranking down to No. 141.
Sriram Balaji wins 29th career ITF Futures Doubles Title
Sriram Balaji reached the singles semi-finals at the ITF $15K Futures in China (his second consecutive semi-final appearance on the ITF circuit) and also won the doubles title with China’s Zhe Li. Seeded sixth, Balaji won three rounds including an upset win over fourth seed Kento Takeuchi before going down to second seed Ze Zhang in straight sets. Balaji and Li, who went on to claim the singles title as well, upset the top seeds Yan Bai/ Ti Chen 4-6, 7-6, 13-11 in the final. This was Balaji’s fourth ITF doubles title of the year (his first without compatriot Vishnu Vardhan) and the 29th of his career.
At the ITF Futures in Germany, eighth seeded N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth lost in the second round to Croatian Duje Kekez in straight sets. Prashanth and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan were beaten in the semi-finals by Aleksander Lzaov/ Karim Mohamed Maamou, who went on to win the title.
At the ITF $25K event in China, Natasha Palha reached the second round where she lost to the top seed Qiang Wang in straight sets while she lost in the first round of the doubles draw, where she was partnering with Yoshimi Kawasaki. Meanwhile, at the ITF $10K in Egypt, eighth seeded Shweta Rana lost to Julia Valetova. Seeded second in the doubles, Rana/ Claudia Williams reached the quarter-finals which included a win over the Indian pairing of Dhruthi Tatachar Venugopal/ Ojasvinee Singh.
Sania Mirza remains at No. 1 in the rankings
In the women’s rankings, Sania Mirza holds on to the top spot while Prarthana Thombare climbs 2 spots to No. 291. In singles, Anita Raina stays put at No. 230 while Natsha Palha climbs 1 spot to No. 538. Among the men in doubles, Rohan Bopanna stays put at No. 10 while Paes holds steady at No. 32. Following his semi-final appearance in Newport, Purav Raja climbs 10 spots to No. 102 while in singles, Somdev Devvarman holds on to the 148th position while Yuki Bhambri stays put at No. 151.