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Prakash Amritraj opts out of Asian Games

India's challenge will be spearheaded by Sania, ranked sixth in Asia and 67th in the World.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 15:17 IST

It is going to be tough for the Indian tennis squad at the Asian Gamesas Prakash Amritraj has opted out, while Sania Mirza finds herself in a tough field, which comprises nine of the top 10 women players of the continent in the competition to be held from December 4 to 14.

Among the women players, Asia's number one women player Ai Sugiyama is not coming to play but the likes of Chinese number one Li Na, ranked 21st in the world now, will be here.

India's challenge will be spearheaded by Sania, ranked sixth in Asia and 67th in the World.

Li Na has several impressive wins over the world top 10 players, including her stunning display at Wimbledon this year. Sania, on the other hand, has struggled most of this year but she comes here with a morale boosting victories in the Hopman Cup last week at Hyderabad.

However, China is the clear favourite to dominate the women's section as another strong contender for the gold, Zheng Jie, a doubles specialist, also confirmed her participation.

Ranked 33rd in the world, the 23-year-old partnered fellow Chinese Yan Zi to crown at six tournaments this year, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, becoming the first Chinese Grand Slam champions in tennis history.

Apart from Sania, the other player capable of challenging the Chinese is Aiko Nakamura from Japan. The 23-year-old Japanese, who is ranked fifth in Asia and 58th in the world, posed main threat following Ai Sugiyama's decision of pulling out from Doha.

In the men's section, India's hopes suffered as Prakash Amritraj has decided not to participate in the Asiad due to a wrist injury.

Prakash was to play in singles and pair with Rohan Bopanna in the doubles.

It is not yet known who will replace Prakash but his dropping out has created problem for the Indians not only in the singles but also in doubles.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are the other doubles pair for India in this competition.

The Koreans are also sending strong side and India will find hard to get past them.

In singles, Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan is rated to be the hot favourite.

India Team:

Men: Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Harsh Mankad,

Karan Rastogi.

Women:Sania Mirza, Shikha Uberoi, Ankita Bhambri, Isha Lakhani

First Published: Nov 28, 2006 15:17 IST