Mankad to face Bopanna in F5 Futures' final

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{image-bopanna alone_04042008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Chandigarh, Apr 4: Indian Davis Cupper and top seed Rohan Bopanna and wild card Harsh Mankad will lock horns for the singles title tomorrow in the 10,000 dollars India F5 Futures ITF Men's Circuit being played at the CLTA Stadium here.

Meanwhile, unseeded Harsh Mankad and Rupesh Roy displayed better coordination as they prevailed over third seed Indian pair of Rohan Gajjar and Purag Raja 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes in the doubles final. In the semi-final matches played today, Rohan Bopanna fired left handed Divij Sharan in a well-contested semi-final match at 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 58 minutes and former Davis Cupper Harsh Mankad snuffed out the Korean challenge as he rallied to down Hyun-Woo Nam in three firecely contested sets 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes.

Watched by All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general secretary Anil Khanna, Rohan Bopanna and left handed Divij Sharan dished out percentage tennis.

With a booming serve of 125 miles per hour, Bopanna fired 14 aces in comparision to four by Divij Sharan. Divij committed nine double faults while Bopanna committed only four.

The longest game of the tournament was recorded today.

Deuce was called as many as ten times in the seventh game of the first set before Bopanna broke his rival to gain a 4-3 lead and held his serve to make it 5-3.

The next two games went with the serve and Bopanna clinched it at 6-4.

Earlier, Sharan was broken in the third game in which he committed two double faults.

Divij Sharan hit back by breaking back Bopanna at love in the fourth game to make it two-all.

Maintaining the pressure, Bopanna commenced the second set by breaking Divij Sharan in the first game.

Trailing 2-4, Divij Sharan won seventh, eighth and ninth games to take a 5-4 lead, the break coming in the eighth game.

After holding his serve to make it five-all, Rohan Bopanna won the 11th and 12th games also to clinch the issue.

Serving under tremendous pressure, Sharan committed two double faults to be broken. An electrifying back-hand down-the-line shot gave Bopanna three match points as he led 40-0 on his serve in the 12th game.

Bopanna wrapped up the match with an ace.

The 160-minute of marathon tennis between Hyun-Woo Nam of Korea and Indian Harsh Mankad kept the spectators spell-bound.

Both hitting fluent strokes, the first set went with the serve till the eighth game (4-all).

However, Mankad committed a double fault to be broken in the in the ninth game to give Nam 5-4 lead.

The Korean then held his serve to bag the first set at 6-4.

The second set was virtually a repeat of the first.

After tied four-all, Nam was broken in the 10th game and Mankad won at 6-4 to level the score.

In the deciding third set, Nam broke Mankad in the first game.

However, Mankad rose to the occasion and the never-say-die spirit helped him to break Nam in the sixth and 12th games and won 7-5.

Results: Singles (semi-finals): 1-Rohan Bopanna (Ind) bt Divij Sharan (Ind) 6-4, 7-5 (118 minutes); WC-Harsh Mankad (Ind) bt Hyun-Woo Nam (Korea) 6-4, 4-6, 5-7 (160 minutes).

Doubles (final): Harsh Mankad and Rupesh Roy (Ind) bt 3-Rohan Gajjar and Purav Raja (Ind) 6-3, 6-4 (68 minutes).

UNI

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