Delhi Challenger: Bhupathi and Bhambri reach doubles semi-finals
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.