Tata Open: Amritraj reaches pre-quarters

Prakash Amritraj beat Harsh Mankad 6-3, 6-4 to sail into the singles pre-quarterfinals of the ATP Tour Tata Open Tennis Championship.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Prakash Amritraj, the top ranked Indian singles player in the ATP list, sailed into the singles pre-quarterfinals of the ATP Tour Tata Open Tennis Championship. Amritraj, son of former Indian Davis Cup captain, Vijay Amritraj, defeated a jet lagged Harsh Mankad 6-3, 6-4, with a break each in the two sets. He will now take on Rafel Nadal of Spain in the pre-quarterfinal. Ranked at 287 in ATP, Amritraj was never under pressure and played confidently right from the start. He started the match with an ace and wore out Mankad, who was visibly tired after travelling from Florida. With the match going on serve in the first set until 3-3, Amritraj held his seventh game and then broke Mankad, who trains at the Nick Bolliteri Academy in Florida. Amritraj was very effective with his first serves and often rushed to the net, brooking no answer from Mankad. Powerful serve Consistently serving at 190 km and touching 201 km on his fastest serve, Amritraj had a break point in the seventh game of the second set and coverted it. Then on, the rivals held their service games with Amritraj emerging winner. In the post match press conference, Amritraj said "I was lucky that my first serves helped me earn vital points, especially whenever I was down 0-30 and facing break points. I did not make many mistakes but forced Mankad to commit them. I am now feeling good and after a day's rest tomorrow, should be able to play better against my rival". Mankad also praised Amritraj for his fluent tennis. He said he was informed of the wild card offer only on Friday night (U.S. time). "I had to take the first available flight to Chennai. I was missing a lot of returns, which is my strong point and I think that cost me the match." Earlier, in the final qualifying round, Vishal Punna went down 2-6, 3-6 to Julian Knowle of Austria, while in the first main draw singles, seventh seed David Ferrer defeated compatriot Fernando Verdasco 1-6 7-5 6-0 in 94 minutes. (PTI)