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Prakash does a Paes

Prakash Amritraj turned the clock back when he tamed Rohan Bopanna 6-4, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the $385,000 ATP Tour tennis event in Newport, USA.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2008 03:04 AM IST

Prakash does a Paes

Prakash Amritraj turned the clock back on Thursday when he tamed Rohan Bopanna 6-4, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the $385,000 ATP Tour tennis event in Newport, USA.

The win meant Amritraj became the first Indian since Paes to reach the last-four stage of a Tour event.

Incidentally, Paes’ effort came at the same tournament in 1998 when he actually went on to win the title.

Paes also reached the semifinals of the grass court event on the previous two occasions, then categorized as a Grand Prix event.

Amritraj will take on Canadian Frank Dancevi in the semifinal after the seventh seed upset fourth seed Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 7-5 6-3 in the other quarterfinal.

Bopanna and Amritraj, however, could once again face off against each other, albeit in doubles competition.

Seeded fourth, Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi advanced to the semifinals after beating South African Kevin Anderson and American James Cerretanu 7-6 (4), 3-6, 10-7.

Bopanna and Qureshi will next be up against the winners of the match between wildcards Amritraj and Luxumberg's Gilles Muller and Rik De Voest (South Africa) and Ashley Fisher (Australia).

Santoro makes it to quarters

Newport: Second-seeded Frenchman Fabrice Santoro advanced to the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 win over Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.

Santoro, who has not won on tour since his victory here a year ago, will play Spain’s Ivan Navarro in the round of eight.

Navarro moved on Thursday with a 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4 win over No. 8 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Mahut was the No. 3 seed here, but his tournament ended abruptly Thursday courtesy of American veteran Vincent Spadea, who came away with a 6-2, 6-3 second-round victory.

The 33-year-old Spadea, a finalist here in 2005, next will face Austrian qualifier Alexander Peya, who dispatched American Donald Young, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

In the top half of the draw, Canadian Frank Dancevic continued his quest for his first title of the year with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over fourth seed Igor Kunitsyn of Russia.

Verdasco, Berdych in semis

Bastad: Spanish second seed Fernando Verdasco recovered from a sluggish start to beat Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist at the Swedish Open on Friday, setting up a semi-final against Czech Tomas Berdych.

Verdasco, a career-high 13th in the world, played poorly in the opening set against Rehnquist before he found his rhythm to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Berdych, the world number 23, beat Italian Potito Starace 6-3, 6-2. The Czech baseliner is hoping to go one step further than in 2005 when he lost the final here to Rafael Nadal.

Healthy Hanescu in last four

Gstaad: Rangy Romanian Victor Hanescu looked the picture of health Friday as he stopped French qualifier Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in the quarterfinals of the Gstaad Open tennis tournament.

The 1.98-metre Hanescu finally has some relief half a year after chronic back problems began to clear. He now feels ready to take on the world after reaching his first semifinal of the season.

"I had back problems and was out for eight or nine months in 2006," said the one-time number 35 who reached a Roland Garros quarterfinal three years ago against Roger Federer.

"But I've felt good for six months now," said the current number 80.

The 26-year-old last made an impression nearly a year ago with a final at home in Bucharest. He improved to 8-14 this season after second-round losses in Paris and Wimbledon.

But the Romanian said that it was at the All England Club where his game began to take a turn for the better. "I had been struggling but I felt better at Wimbledon, I won a singles match and played some doubles. Everything started to go better then."

Chardy, 21, and ranked 103, was playing in his first ATP quarter-final in a season highlighted by the Roland Garros fourth round.

HTC/Agencies

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