A quiet week for most of the top Indian players except Yuki Bhambri who reached the ATP Challenger quarter-finals in Lexington while Neeraj Elangovan/ Nikki Kaliyanda Poonacha picked up a doubles title on the ITF Circuit. All this and more in our weekly recap on Indian tennis.
Yuki Bhambri Reaches ATP Challenger Quarter-Finals
Sixth seeded Yuki Bhambri defeated Croatian qualifier Matija Pecotic and Australian Brydan Klein to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger in Lexington, Kentucky where he was beaten by Bjorn Fratangelo 2-6, 7-6, 4-6. Klein knocked out Indian youngster Ramkumar Ramanathan in the first round in straight sets. Ramanathan and Australian partner John Millman reached the doubles semi-finals where they were beaten by Dean O’ Brien/ Ruan Roelofse. Saketh Myneni also reached the doubles semi-finals with Dimitar Kutrovsky where they lost 9-11 in the match tiebreaker to eventual winners Carsten Ball/ Brydan Klein.
After reaching two successive semi-finals on the ATP Tour, PuravRaja/ Fabrice Martin made an early exit at the BB&T Atlanta Open where they were beaten by Treat Huey/ Steve Johnson. At the ITF Futures in Spain, the unseeded duo of Neeraj Elangovan/ Nikki Kaliyanda Poonacha scored upset wins over the third seeds Eduardo Russi/ Marcos Giraldi Requena and second seeds Pedro Martinez Portero/ Eduard Esteve Lobato on the way to winning the doubles title – this was Elangovan’s first ITF title of any kind and the second doubles title of Poonacha, who also reached the second round of the singles draw where he was beaten by seventh seed Carlos Boluda Purkiss. At the ITF Germany Futures, Alex Solanki and German partner Marcus Smith reached the quarter-finals.
Ankita Raina Loses in First Round of WTA Nanching
India’s top-ranked player Ankita Raina got a direct entry into the WTA $125K Challenger in Nanching, China but was beaten in the first round by Chang Liu 2-6, 6-7. At the ITF $15K event in Hong Kong, Natasha Palha was the only one of three Indians who made it to the second round while Rishika Sunkara and last week’s finalist Prerna Bhambri exited in the first round. Bhambri and Palha also lost in the first round of the doubles event with their respective partners. At the $10K Futures in Egypt, Dhruthi Tatachar Venugopal, who has been enjoying a steady rise up the ranks, was beaten in the first round by Elina Nepliy. Venugopal/ Kateryna Sluisar, seeded second, managed to reach only the quarter-finals of the doubles event. Finally at the ITF $10K Futures in Tunisia, Sneha Padamata was knocked out in the first round by Romania’s Cristina Moroi.
Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri Move Up
Somdev Devvarman moves up 5 spots to No. 142 in the ATP rankings and continues his reign as the top Indian player though Bhambri is closely behind at No. 145, up six spots this week. Lower down, Sanam Singh climbs 4 spots to No. 303. In doubles, Rohan Bopanna drops one spot to No. 11 while Leander Paes drops 3 spots to No. 35. Myneni climbs 12 spots to No. 155.
Among the women, Sania Mirza is still the undisputed World No. 1 in doubles. The next highest ranked Indian on the doubles tour, Prarthana Thombare, drops 1 spot to No. 293. Ankita Raina holds on to the top spot in singles, dropping 5 spots to No. 233 while Dhruthi Tatachar Venugopal climbs 30 spots to No. 573 to become India No. 5.