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India sweep tennis team event golds at AAG

India lived upto their top billing to sweep the both the men's and women's team tennis golds at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad on Monday.

tennis Updated: Oct 28, 2003 00:51 IST
V Shrikanth (PTI)
V Shrikanth (PTI)

Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthy faced some unexpected resistance in the final but India lived upto their top billing to sweep the team tennis golds at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games here on Monday.

Davis cuppers Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna outplayed Nigeria 3-0, while the women's team barely managed to win their singles matches against a fighting Indonesia to increase the country's gold tally.

Bopanna put India on 1-0 lead with a run-away 6-2 6-2 win over Rotimi Jegede before Amritraj overcame Sunday Maku, the top ranked Nigerian, to carve out a 6-4 6-1 victory.

In the doubles match, Vijay Kannan and Vishal Uppal blew away Balalola Abdul and Maku 6-1 6-4.

In contrast, the women's final turned out to be a close affair with the Indonesian girls throwing in a real challenge, taking both the singles to the decider.

But, Rushmi and Sania kept their cool at crucial moments o emerge winners.

Rushmi managed to put it across Septi Mende 6-3 4-6 7-6 ( /4) whereas Wimbledon girls' doubles champion Sania was stretc ed to her wits' end before she quelled the challenge of Indone ian No.1 Sandy Gumulya 6-1 5-7 7-6 (7/5).

The double's match was not played with the mutual consent of both the teams' captains.

Though Sania took the first set without much problem, she was never in control of her shots and committed a lot of errors. She lacked consistency and could not get her powerful forehand going on most occasions besides struggling with her serve.

Sandy, on the other hand, was imrpving by leaps and bounds and put tremendous pressure on her rival. Realising the potential of Sania's forehand shots, the Indonesian changed her game plan soon and kept tossing up the ball to upset her rivals rhythm.

In the second set, Sandy broke Sania's serve in the third game but the Indian restored parity by the tenth. However, the Indonesian girl claimed a break in the very next game to serve for the set.

In the decider, which saw fortunes fluctuating, Sania appeared to have found her touch as she took a 4-0 lead, but thereafter lost her way. She failed to hold her serves in three consecutive games as the Nigerian won some handsome points and shot into a 5-1 lead.

Even as the home crowd kept cheering Sania, both the players continued to trade breaks and Sandy, serving for the match in the 12 th game, pulled a hamstring trying to reach out to a forehand cross court and received treatment on court. With Sania breaking the game, the match went into the tie-break where she kept her cool to emerge winner.

In the first singles between Rushmi and Septi, the Indian had only herself to blame as she surrendered the initiative after winning the first set comfortably as the Indonesian was erratic in her shots.

But Septi raised her game by several notches to offer a stiff resistance to Rushmi in the second set. Despite taking a 4-1 lead breaking the Indonesian in the third and fifth game, Rushmi lapsed into serious errors and committed a few doub le faults too on crucial points as the match went into the decider.

The decider was even more closely fought and Rushmi, who broke Septi in the fifth game, yet again yielded ground as the latter came back strongly. But in the tie-break, Rushmi played better while her rival made a few unforced errors.

In the individual events, which commenced today in the outside courts, Johnny Arcilla of Phillipines in the men's section and Berthe Khady of Senegal, Czarina Arevalo of Phillipines and Clara Udofo in the women's qualified to the quarterfinals of the respective singles main draw.

First Published: Oct 27, 2003 18:44 IST