Wednesday, May 08, 2002
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By G. Viswanath
Both lost in straight sets and from being last week's celebrities, they became snippets of news on the second day of the Mumbai edition of the $6,250 ITF Indian Satellite Circuit at the G. A. Ranade Tennis Centre on Tuesday.
Kirtane was beaten hollow by a qualifier from Japan, Naoki Arimoto while Dooyev managed to turn the seemingly one-sided match into a contest. Kirtane, seeded No.3, was eliminated in one hour and five minutes while Dooyev expended energy for nine minutes short of two hours before bowing to the Russian, Levine Igor.
To join the Kirtane-Dooyev bandwagon at twilight hours was the No. 2 seed from Israel, Tomer Suissa. German Sebastian Niedermayer knocked him out in straight sets at 4-6, 6-3.
There was no such ignominy of defeat for the top seed Mustafa Ghouse and the National champion, Manoj Mahadevan, though they were made to huff and puff by two men attempting to make the big stride.
German Giunior Ghedina played well in patches, broke Ghouse's service games three times, showed his frayed temper, argued with the lady umpire and tried everything to distract his rival, but in the process lost focus and the match in a little over one and half hours.
In a match that did not appeal to anyone, when the `centre court' at the MSLTA was occupied by men like the first leg winner Nitin Kirtane and the top seed Ghouse, produced little by way of quality tennis.
Anant Sitaram, one of the eight qualifiers, committed himself to a task, appeared to be determined and turned out to be a resolute performer. His best, though, was not enough to dispatch the national champion, Mahadevan, from the tourney.
For straightforward reasons the second day of tournament belonged to Arimoto. After being ousted in the first round in New Delhi he rushed to Mumbai, played hell of a lot of tennis in the three qualifying rounds and got used to the conditions of the hard court.
He played near flawless tennis that put tremendous pressure on Nitin Kirtane. His complete domination of the match stemmed from his ability to be accurate in his serves which he followed it up with quick and sharp volleys.
In fact, Arimoto showed a fine repertoire of strokes. Impressive were the shots he whipped with power and placed from the corners, the forcefully punched volleys and also the deft drop shots. But it was his brilliant first serves, which he managed to get by a very high percentage and the nine aces that truly made him a formidable challenger.
Two cross court winners helped him break Kirtane in the eighth game of the first set after which he held his own, winning four decisive points.
Arimoto did not relent after he established a 3-1 lead in the second set. He concentrated on his serves, became more aggressive at the net and on most occasions outwitted Kirtane. Ace No. 9 gave him an emphatic victory.
Arimoto will face Vinod Sridhar in the second round. Rishi Sridhar had an easy time, scoring a crushing 6-0, 6-4 win against Roy Sichel, while Shivang Mishra downed Vishal Uppal 7-6, 6-2.
Ghouse played powerfully and with purpose. He clinched the first set on tie-breaker, but held the upper-hand from the word go in the second set.
Men's singles (first round): Naoki Arimoto (Jpn) bt 3-Nitin Kirtane 6-3, 6-4; Levine Igor (Rus) bt 4-Eliran Dooyev (Isr) 7-5, 6-3; Rishi Sridhar bt Roy Sichel (Isr) 6-0, 6-4; Shivang Mishra bt Vishal Uppal 7-6, 6-2; Manoj Mahadevan bt Anant Sitaram 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; 1-Mustafa Ghouse bt Giunior Ghedina (Ger) 7-6, 6-3; Rafael Moreno Negri (Esp) bt Saurabh Kohli 6-3, 6-0; Vinod Sridhar bt Arun Prakash Rajagopalan 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Sebastian Niedermayer (Ger) bt 2-Tomer Suissa (Isr) 6-4, 6-3; Somdev Verma by Yasser Arafat 4-6, 7-6, 6-0; Raviv Volkovitzky (Isr) bt Jaco Mathew 6-4, 6-2; Vijay Kannan bt Ivan Syrov (Rus) 6-2, 6-1; Karan Rastogi bt Vijayendra Ladd 6-1, 6-3.
Men's doubles (first round): Mustafa Ghouse & Vijay Kannan bt Giunior Ghedina & Sebastian Niedermayer 6-3, 6-3; Tomer Suissa & Raviv Volkovitzky bt Ajay Chowdapally & Gurmehar Singh 6-4, 6-4, Stephen Donovan & Rafael Moreno Negri bt Roy Sichel & Elad Stern 7-5, 6-2.
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