Srichaphan consolidates position in Tata Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Paradorn scripts an authoritative 6-4, 6-4 win over Sargis Sargsian of Armenia in the Tata Open tennis tournament in Chennai.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Last year finalist Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand enhanced his chances of winning the singles title, even as two seeds fell by the way side in the ATP Tata Open tennis championship here tonight. Despite being broken once in the second set, Paradorn managed to script an authoritative 6-4, 6-4 win over Sargis Sargsian of Armenia, while the fourth seeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina scored a facile 6-4, 6-3 win to dispose of Tomas Behrend, a qualifier, of Germany. In the semifinals tomorrow, Karol Kucera, who put paid to the hopes of defending champion and top seeded Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-1 7-5 faces Chela, while Paradorn, the favourite to win the title, plays the dark horse Jean Rene Lisnard of France. Earlier, Lisnard accounted for the second upset of the day scalping sixth seeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany 6-2, 7-5. On a day when Chela never showed to be under any pressure and kept his cool to progress to the semifinals, Paradorn's rival Sargsian, showed grit and determination in the first set on the centre court. Paradorn, who emerged as a surprise finalist here in the last edition, did progress to stardom last season in the circuit to climb more than 100 places to finish 16th in the ATP champions race 2002, had to stave off the spirited challenge from the Armenian, who at times rushed to the net to pressure Paradorn to err. However, Paradorn, whose credentials of having figured in four finals with two title wins, put him ahead of Sargsian on many counts, needed only to keep the ball in play. In fact, Paradorn, who was broken in the second game kept on trying to return the compliment but could not cash in the opportunities that came his way as Sargsian did come up trumps after rallies. However, Paradorn managed to break back in the fifth game but his ninth game break of Sargsian was the highlight of the whole match. The lesser known Sargsian yielded three break points and then double faulted to allow the Thai to lead 5-2. True to his potential and billing, Paradorn closed out the match in style. In the match between Chela and Behrend, the former kept his cool and brought out his experience to take the first set. After taking an early break, Chela allowed himself to be broken back in the seventh game. Behrend, who shocked better rated Albert Portas in straight sets in a second round match, went all out, packing power into his forehand shots, which proved effective. However, Chela, who had his career best Grandslam in the US Open, where he reached the fourth round, was in no mood to give up and he broke the German in the 10th game to take the set 6-4. The second set was evenly fought. While Behrend played an attacking game, going for his shots, Chela, ranked 23rd in the world, stood up to the task making some sparkling retrievals. Behrend had a good chance to break Chela in the first game itself, holding three break points. But Chela, one of the four Argentines to finish in top 25 last year, produced superb winners to take the game. The 22-year old Argentine, who had a good season last year winning his second career title in Amesfoot, stepped up his game to break Behrend in the fourth game. Down 0-40, Chela came up with good winners and a volley to go up 3-1. Though Behrend had a chance to neutralize the break in the very next game, Chela managed to hold his serve. The single break proved to be enough for the Argentine as he took the set comfortably in the end. (PTI)

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