Mankad, Fazal, Asutosh fly ahead in national grasscourt

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Kolkata, Dec 18 (UNI) Harsh Mankad and Syed Fazaluddin took 15 minutes a piece to roll into the second round of the National Grasscourt Championship '07, even as city girl and wild card Treta Bhattacharya continued her fine run in the event.

Harsh Mankad, who led 6-4, 4-2 last night, showed no signs of pain or sluggish match-fitness as he overcame Divyanshu Singh 6-4, 6-2 to move to the next round.

The thing most noticeable about Mankad was his eagerness to get the points. He was sharp in his chip and charge and decisive with his passing shots as he didn't allow Singh to settle down.

Mankad later said, '' It feels good to win always. But the field is wide open, I have to be focused. There are so many good players, and you cannot afford to lose concentration. '' Fazaluddin won his tie 7-6(3), 6-1 in against Ajai Selvaraj in a similar manner, perforating his opponent with a barrage of forehand crosscourt and passing shots.

If yesterday, he looked a little rusty allowing Ajai to take the first set to a tie-break which he won three love, today he looked to be in vintage touch played a range of shots from the baseline worth admiring.

Asked about his fitness, a smiling Fazal said, '' I am enjoying what I am doing. It's a lot of fun. I am no more a pro. This is a one-off for sure. '' A contender for the Davis Cup team Asutosh Singh showed why he was so highly rated, when he walloped Kaushik Das of Assam 6-1, 6-1 within an hour mark.

Singh picked up the tempo from the very first game and never looked back. His recent performance on grass courts have been encouraging and this tie will only embolden the selectors.

'' I am 25. Despite that, I have a gut feeling that I can make the cut for the Davis Cup. Whoever does well in the grasscourt championship stands a better chance of getting into the squad, '' he said.

But it was city girl Treta Bhattacharya teaming up with Rashmi Teltumbde of Maharashtra who again was in focus winning their doubles opener coming from behind against Vishakha Sheoran and Shivika Burman 2-6, 6-3, (10-4).

The pair of Rushmi Chakrovorthy and Sonal phadke won their doubles 6-1, 6-1 against Shilpi Jaiswal and Anukriti Prasad.

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