Rastogi-Mankad, Ashutosh-Vishnu to spice up national grasscourts

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Kolkata, Dec 19 (UNI) Top seed Karan Rastogi and comeback man Harsh Mankad set up one of the quarter-final clash of the National Grasscourts Championships 07, while second seed Ashutosh Singh will take on sixth seed Vishnu Vardhan here tomorrow.

Karan Rastogi showed his characteristic flamboyance brushing aside Rohan Gujjar of Maharashtra 6-3, 6-2 in straight seta without dropping a sweat.

He broke Rohan in the second game of the first set and then in the first and fifth games of the second to set up a facile victory.

In another tie today second seed Ashutosh Singh blanked Arjun Gautam in the first set, before losing his rhythm taking the second set to the tie-breaker which he finally won 7-6 (5).

Singh had been most consistant player this season and the second set he looked to have lost his balance a bit not being able to get his backhand properly.

Syed Fazaluddin reaffirmed his proficiency on grass progressing to the quarterfinals. Coming after a prolonged absence from competitive tennis, the former champion proved his touch plucking out third seed Aditya Madkekar in the process.

Fazal did not look rusty or out of the game, in spite of the fact that he had last played competitive tennis in 2002 in a Challenger in America. He began the match on a high breaking Madkekar in the eighth game to take the first set 6-3.

However, he lost the plot completely in the second set, as Madkekar came back strongly to break him in the second and fourth games to take the set 6-1.

But that was the end of it. Fazal came out firing volleys both from the forehand and backhand that saw him win the Championships here in 1999 and Madkekar had no answers to his passing shots and drop volleys.

He took the set 6-1, with identical breaks on second and fourth games.

The men's singles pre-quarterfinal matches at the South Club underscored the dominance of the seniors as another come-back man, Harsh Mankad, toppled fifth seeded Vivek Shokeen to move up into the quarters.

The rest of the men's matches did not see any more upsets. Mankad displayed style and verve as he rattled fifth seed Vivek Shokeen 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets in 91 minutes. Mankad showed an eagerness for winning the game as he finished points with amazing precision.

The first set went against serves most of the time. Shokeen broke Mankad in the second and eighth games while Mankad got back in the first, third and ninth games.

In the first game itself Shokeen lost the serve even after havng 40-0 lead but made up for it in the fifth by coming back from 0-40 deficit to retain his serve.

The second set had its solitary break in the seventh game when Mankad broke Shokeen.

Meanwhile, local girl Treta Bhattacharyya continued her dream run taking barely 45 minutes to take care of the IAF Flight officer Smita Rani Jain 6-2, 6-1. Treta broke Smita in the second, sixth and eighth games and lost her serve only in the third.

Treta put 60 per cent of her first serves in, while Smita managed 72 per cent. Smita served two double faults. In the second set Treta broke Smita in the fourth and sixth games to take the set 6-1 serving 80 per cent first serves correctly.

Smita's percentage was 65 per cent. Treta also served one double fault.

In the Men's Singles Harsh Mankad, unseeded in this tournament ousted the fifth seed from Delhi Vivek Shokeen in straight sets 6-4,6-4 taking 91 minutes.

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