Delhi Challenger: Bhupathi and Bhambri reach doubles semi-finals
In singles, only two Indians remain at the Delhi Challenger while Ankita Raina is still in contention at the women's ITF event
Indian doubles legend Mahesh Bhupathi continued his impressive comeback to competitive tennis as he booked a berth in the doubles semi-finals of the $50,000 Delhi Challenger held at the R K Khanna Tennis Stadium on Thursday. The 12-time Grand Slam champion is playing with compatriot Yuki Bhambri and the Indian pair dispatched the unseeded French-Belgian duo of Stephane Robert and Yannick Mertens, 7-5, 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
They will next meet fellow unseeded combine of Jimmy Wang and Ze Zhang, who dashed the hopes of local pair Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash and Vinayak Sharma Kaza, 6-1, 6-4.
There are at least three other Indians who have chances of lifting the doubles title. Fourth-seeded all-Indian duo of Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh reached the last-four stage after outlasting fellow Indians Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N Vijay Sundar Prashanth, 7-6, 6-4.
Divij Sharan too is in contention as he made it through to the last-four alongside Italian Flavio Cipolla. The top seeds got a walkover from Belgians Kimmer Coppejans and Joris de Loore in the quarter-finals.
Saketh Myneni highest-ranked Indian left in singles
It wasn’t such a bright picture for the homegrown players in the singles draw. Just two Indians reached the quarter-finals out of the nine who had entered the main draw.
The 166th ranked Myneni is the highest-ranked Indian left along with the World No. 477 Prajnesh Gunneswaran. On Thursday, the wildcard Gunneswaran reached the quarters after his seventh-seeded Chinese opponent, Yan Bai gave a walkover. Earlier on Wednesday, the Asian Games gold medallist Myneni had booked his place with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Australian Matthew Barton.
He will face Zhe Li in quarters while Gunneswaran will take on the second seed Coppejans.
Earlier, the top-seeded Bhambri had bowed out in the first round, losing to the 312th ranked De Loore 4-6, 6-7.
Ankita Raina only Indian surviving in the women’s ITF event
In the women’s ITF $25,000 event being played simultaneously, Ankita Raina is the only one flying the Indian flag high as she entered the semis. She made short work of Russian Anna Morgina, 6-2, 6-0.
The 304th ranked Raina will square off against the sixth seed and World No. 242 Sabina Sharipova in the semi-finals on Friday.