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Qualifiers sparkle at Chennai Open

A tournament record was set with as many as three qualifiers moving into the second round. India's Rohan Bopanna was part of this troika.

tennis Updated: Jan 04, 2006 11:12 IST

For the first time in the 11-year history ofChennai Open,three qualifiers moved into the second round with deserving wins over their higher-ranked rivals on Tuesday.

India's Rohan Bopanna, Marc Gicquel of France and Michael Berrer of Germany hoisted the record for the most number of qualifiers to advance into the second round. At best, only two qualifiers had managed to get past the first round till last year.

The tone was set by none other than Bopanna, ranked 266, as he scored a creditable 6-3 6-3 win over 90th ranked Cyril Saulnier of France, a quarterfinalist at Chennai in 2001 while on the adjacent outside court Berrer (126) rallied to get the better of Lukas Dlouhy (Czech) 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Gicquel (123) completed the qualifiers line up ousting Korean Hyung-Taik Lee (107) with a 7-5 6-4 win in a late night match.

Spaniard Ivan Navarro Pastor was the lone qualifier to lose in the first round but not before he put up a stiff resistance to second seeded Stepanek, who won 6-3 7-6 (3).

India's wild card entrant Prakash Amritraj has already advanced to the second round with a superb win over Ricardo Mello of Brazil on Monday.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 11:12 IST