While the singles matches were overcome with nonchalant ease, the mixed doubles tie, which had thrown up the top-seeded Australian duo of Anastasia Rodionova and Paul Hanley in the path of Rohan Bopanna and Nirumpama Sanjeev was a disappointing loss.
The duo succumbed 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the match that lasted for an hour and 48 minutes in the uncompromising afternoon heat at the R.K. Khanna Stadium on Monday. Despite going down 1-5 in the first set, the Indians did not buckle and fought back. The momentum gathered in the last four games of the first set spilled over to the second and Bopanna’s big serves and Nirupama’s grinding baseline support saw them clinch it 6-3.
However, Rodionova rallied with powerful approaches and Hanley provided adequate cover at the net and the Indians seemed to slowly lose their foothold in the match. Nirupama’s lack of match practice was evident as she struggled with her returns.
The Aussies dominated on serve in the third set with the Indians lagging. Nirupama was broken in the eighth game to concede the advantage for good.
Earlier, Coorg-boy Bopanna, ranked 587 in singles, outclassed Ugandan Robert Buyinza, who just has one ranking point and is 1601 on the list.
The Ugandan began positively in the second set with a few big serves but his poor, almost lethargic, court coverage and ever increasing number of unforced errors saw Bopanna showing him the door in an hour and two minutes.
On an outside court Chennai’s Rushmi Chakravarthi also won her match against Lesotho’s Pinki Agnes Montlha in a pitiless 6-0, 6-1 flogging.
Not a drop to drink
How stupid can stupid be? Very, if it comes to khakhi and ostensible security needs. If you plan to watch any tennis matches during the morning session at the CWG, we suggest you don’t. Not unless you have the genes of a camel, that is. The match that commanded Indian spectator interest in the early session on Monday was the one featuring Rohan Bopanna and Nirupama Sanjeev on centrecourt. A lot of money has been spent on this stadium but cross-ventilation does not seem to have been a priority. With stupid so-called security precautions deigning that no water be carried to the stands, it was such a miserable draining experience for spectators that one collapsed during the match. He was swiftly whisked off by the organisers.
In some venues water can be carried in as long as the bottle is left out. In others you just can’t. For any spectator to sweat on for a match lasting over an hour and 45 minutes without any fluid intake is quite an arduous ask. It’s not like there are water coolers right outside the sanitised zone that one could dart out to between breaks. So the call is to either follow the match with undivided attention or miss a couple of games to ensure those precious few sips. The people who have come up with these arrangements obviously have no clue about how to ensure safety without taking away from the pleasure of watching sport. SB