Three Indians in AAG tennis semifinals
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Three Indians in AAG tennis semifinals

Vijay Kannan, Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthy breezed past weak opponents in the singles event of the individual tennis competition.

tennis Updated: Oct 28, 2003 19:07 IST

India's Vijay Kannan, Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthy kept their reputation intact breezing past weak opponents to reach the singles semifinals of the individual events in the tennis competition of the inaugural Afro-Asian Games here on Tuesday.

Playing in their first individual matches, all the three, with a bye in the prequarters, fully capitalised on the weak field as India took another step closer to sweeping all the seven golds on offer in the tennis competition. The hosts have already claimed the yellow metal in the men's and women's team events.

In the men's section, Vijay Kannan overcome a late fight back by Harshana Godamana 6-1 7-5 to set up a semifinal clash with Sunday Maku of Nigeria, who quelled a strong challenge from Joseph Victorino of Philippines in the other quarterfinals.

Top seeded Prakash Amirtraj, the other Indian in the singles main draw, will play tomorrow when the other semifinalists would be decided.

Second seeded Rushmi continued with her lacklustre game and found herself in a spot of bother against Berthe Khady of Senegal before prevailing over for a 6-3 7-6 (2) win while top seeded Sania toyed with her Zimbabwean rival Fadzai Mawisire to triumph 6-1 6-0 in quick time in their quarterfinal matches.

Rushmi will tomorrow play third seeded Sandy Gumulya of Indonesia, who gave a scare to Sania in the team event final yesterday. Sandy defeated Clara Udofa of Nigeria 6-1 7-6 (2) to move into the semis.

Sania, the Wimbledon girls doubles champion, will play Czarina Arevalo, who defeated Indonesia's Septi Mende 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-3 in a tough encounter.

Vijay Kannan dominated the first set to take it in just 18 minutes against Goadamana. But the left-handed Sri Lankan improved his game in the next breaking Kannan in the second and fourth games to take a 4-0 lead.

Kannan kept his cool and turned the tables in the very next game holding three break points and clinched it with a superb forehand down the line winner. He kept up the pressure attacking from the net regularly and made his rival to commit errors and found another break in the seventh to wrest the initiative.

After games went on serve, Kannan again broke Gondamana in the 11th with coming with a delightful drop volley from the net and a down the line winner to go up 6-5 and then took the match comfortably.

In the women's matches, Rushmi, who struggled in the final team match against Septi Mende, yet again lapsed into errors after taking the first set rather easily. She broke Khady in the fourth game with the latter making costly mistakes, including a double fault facing break point and that was enough to take the set.

But in the second set Rushmi got herself into trouble and struggled before prevailing over Khady in 54 minutes.

In yet another totally lop-sided match, Sania proved unstoppable against young Mawisire, who won the silver in the Abuja African Games. There was hardly any resistance from the Zimbabwean girl, who managed to hold her serve only once in the sixth game of the first set. Though she held a break point in the third game, Sania saved it in the end.

The second set was no different with Sania reeling off winners at will and completing the formalities in just 21 minutes.

"It was lot easier. Easier than yesterday (team final). I am happy playing an easy match because I was exhausted after yesterday's three-set match," said Sania after the match.

First Published: Oct 28, 2003 19:07 IST