Ashutosh stuns 8th seed Russian; Amritraj, Mankad bows out

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New Delhi, May 13 (UNI) Wildcard entrant Ashutosh Singh kept Indian hopes alive as he stretched himself to the extreme to overpower Alexandre Kudryavtsev of Russia after Davis cuppers Prakash Amritraj and Harsh Mankad received straight-set mauling in the ATP Challenger Series' SAIL Open here today.

An unfancied Ashutosh showed great skills to beat his rival 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (6) while seventh seed Brendon Evans of America strolled to victory defeating Amritraj 3-6, 3-6.

Mankad, another wild card, failed to match Ashutosh's success as he lost 6-7 (5) 4-6 to Frenchman Thomas Oger after a hard fought first set.

Ashutosh held his nerves till the last moment as the reigning National champion put up a brave fight and refused to gave up despite missing a couple of match points in the second set besides surviving two match points in the decider.

In a tense battle that went for close to three hours, the Indian won an easy first set as his Russian rival looked completely frustrated.

The ill-tempered Kudryavtsev began to question every close line call and his frustration grew to an extent that he even hurled his racquet out of the court.

His anger was at its brim and he even hit a ball boy while trying to smash the ball out of court. Finally, the chair umpire intervened and asked him to calm down.

However, the Russian bounced back to level the scores after two sets.

But Ashutosh did not allow his opponent to carry on from their and held his nerves to win a hard-fought third set tie-breaker.

On the other hand, Amritraj looked in complete disarray against Evans as he double faulted in the sixth game to give a break point to his opponent and the American made full use of the opportunity to take the lead after the first set.

Amritraj, committed umpteen errors on his way to the second set which turned out to be too costly for him and lost the match in two straight sets.

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