Sunil stuns Aisam Qureshi, moves into semi-finals

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New Delhi, Dec 6 (UNI) Wild carder Sunil Kumar Sipaeya dashed Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi's hopes of second successive ATP title as the Indian upset the highly fancied Pakistani 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) to storm into the semi-finals of the SAIL Open 50,000 dollar ATP Chalenger tennis tournament here today.

The former national champion waged a grim battle for 146 minutes before sending the second seed Lahori into wilderness.

Sunil will now take on Tomas Cakl (Czech) in the semi-final.

Tomas overpowered Alberto Francis (USA) in another marathon quarter-final 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Completing the last four lineup were eighth seed Ivan Sergeyev (Ukraine) and fifth seed Russian Michail Elgin.

Sergeyev demolished fellow countryman I Marchenko 6-3, 6-4 while Elgin overcame a stiff resistance from Frenchman Sebastian De Chaunac to emerge 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 winner.

27-year old Aisam started with a flourish as he overawed Sunil with his powerful serves. The Pakistani broke Sunil in the eighth game and clinched the first set 6-3.

It looked as if Aisam will steamroll his much lower ranked rival but to the surprise of all Sunil put up unexpectedly tough fight in the next two sets which he won in tie-breakers.

Ranked 145th, Aisam, who won his maiden ATP title on this very court last week, surprisingly found himself at the receiving end from 527th ranked Sunil.

Aisam tried to use his powerful serve to break Sunil's defence but the former Indian champion produced one of his career's best fightbacks as he matched his rival stroke by stroke.

''Aisam has a big service. It is his most potent weapon, I took time to get used to it and once I got the hang of it, I knew I can win,'' Sunil said after his victory.

The second seed fired seven aces and had three double faults while Sunil came up with five aces and as many double faults.

Aisam's serve and volley was ably negotiated by Sunil who went after every shot and left no chinks in his defence.

The second seeded Pakistani looked a bit frustrated as his repeated efforts failed to break his rival. The set went with the serve which led to the tie-break and Sunil won it 7-5 to draw parity.

It was clear that Aisam was not able to make any impression on his rival, who after geting used to his powerful serves stayed put in the game.

The decider was like the second set as it also went with the serve till 6-6 and again tie-breaker was enforced and this time too the Indian wild carder won 7-4 to wrap up the set and the match.

A visibly upset Aisam later said, ''I was tired'' but added that his rival played well.

UNI

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