India failed to make it to the Davis Cup World Group, as the hosts went down 1-3 to the Czech Republic, while N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth picked up an ITF title and Prerna Bhambri reached the final of an ITF event. All this and more in our weekly update on Indian tennis.
India Go Down in the Davis Cup to Czech Republic
It was always going to be tough to beat the Czech Republic, even without their top player Tomas Berdych. But what was perhaps disappointing was that the doubles rubber, which India was favoured to win, was the one that perhaps cost them the tie. On the opening day, Lukas Rosol proved too much for Yuki Bhambri, winning in straight sets but Somdev Devvarman played flawless tennis to oust the 40th ranked Jiri Vesely under steaming conditions in Delhi.
A 1-1 result was a good start for India, given that Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna were favoured to win the doubles. But the Czechs Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek pulled off an easy 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win over the much higher ranked Indian duo, leaving a tough task for the Indians to win both the singles matches on Sunday. Vesely rebounded from his disappointing start to beat Bhambri 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 and gave the Czechs a decisive 3-1 win.
Indian captain Anand Amritraj summed it up saying,
“We had a realistic chance of winning the tie after Somdev won the second singles. Unfortunately, the doubles went south after that. It wasn’t even a contest really, against a team which is good, but certainly not one of the best in the world.”
The win ensures that the Czechs stay in the World Group for the tenth consecutive year while the Indians are back in the Asia/ Oceania zonal group and will need to wait at least one more year for a shot at the 16-nation World Group.
Vijay Sundar Prashanth wins third ITF title of the season
At the ITF event in Chennai, top seeded N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth scored a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Siddharth Rawat in the final to capture his third ITF Futures title of the season. Prior to this season, the 28-year-old had never won an ITF Futures title in his career but he certainly seems to be making up for lost time this year.
Teenager Sumit Nagal, one of the 24 Indians in the main draw, had another good week as he reached the semi-finals where he lost to Vijay Sundar Prashanth, while Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ranjeet-Virali Murgesan and Sasikumar Mukund reached the quarter-finals.The Chinese duo of Xin Gao/Bowen Ouyang captured the doubles title in Chennai with a 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 win over Kunal Anand/Markos Kalovelonis.
27 year old Sanam Singh reached the final of the ITF $15K Futures in Canada where he lost to top seeded Frank Dancevic – his third final of the year. His run included wins over Canadian youngster Filip Peliwo and American Nathan Pasha, who knocked him out on the ITF circuit the previous week.
At the ATP Challenger in Nanching, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan reached the second round in the singles where he went down to eventual champion Peter Gojowczyk while Sriram Balaji and Hiroki Moriya did not make it past the first round in the doubles.
Prerna Bhambri Goes Down in Hyderabad Final
At the ITF $10K event in Hyderabad, the top seeded Fatima Al Nabhani of Oman, won the title beating eighth seeded Prerna Bhambri 6-4, 6-0 in the final. This was Bhambri’s second final on the circuit this year. Third seeded Rishika Sunkara and unseeded Prarthana Thombare reached the semi-finals while youngster Pranjala Yadlapalli, Shweta Rana, Sowjanya Bavisetti and Sharmadaa Baluu reached the quarter-finals. Nabhani/Bhambri then picked up the doubles title with a 7-5, 6-2 win over the top seeded duo of Baluu/ Thombare. This was Bhambri’s first title of the season. Elsewhere, Shivika Burman reached the second round of the singles & doubles in Tunisia.
Sania Mirza continues to lead the women’s rankings table, followed by Prarthana Thombare, ranked 296th. On the singles side, Ankita Raina drops one spot to 239th while Snehadevi Reddy jumps 72 spots to 536th. On the men’s side, Bhambri remains at 125th position while Somdev Devvarman drops 2 spots to 166th, and in the doubles, Rohan Bopanna climbs 1 spot to 12th while Leander Paes stays put at 33rd.