Chennai Open: Karlovic beats Amritraj

Prakash Amritraj became the first Indian casualty in the singles event of the 12th ATP tour Chennai Open.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Chennai:Prakash Amritraj became the first Indian casualty in the singles event of the 12th ATP tour Chennai Open. He went down fighting to Ivo Karlovic of Crotia 6-7 (3) 3-6 on the Centre Court in a first round match on Monday. Another wild card Karan Rastogi is the sole remaining Indian hope in the tournament with the duo of Vishal Uppal and Ashutosh Singh having made their exit in a first round doubles match earlier in the day. Rastogi plays Thiago Alves of Brazil on Tuesday. In another singles match, third seeded Xavier Malisse (Bel) made short work of Doha Asian games champion Danai Udomchoke (Tha) 6-2 62 and moved into the second round. There was no vast difference in the game plan and approach of the rivals, though Amritraj had to save two break points and win the first game of the match on his second advantage. But Karlovic was more technically sound and consistent compared to Amritraj, a wild card entrant. Karlovic, ranked 98, known for his huge serves being the fifth player in the world in serving aces with an average of 18 aces per match in 2006, sent down seven aces in the first set and was credited with 73 per cent success on first serves. He had 14 aces against two in the match, while Amritraj, a slow starter, had more winners and the ratio was 10 against 7 in the first set. The first set play by Amritraj gave enough indications of a possible Indian victory. But Amritraj, who displayed remarkable abilities in going down in the first set tie-break, could not withstand the Marauding Croation in the second set. After the games went on serves till six-all, Prakash trailed 1-4 in the tiebreak but managed to bridge the gap 3-6. Karlovic proved his standing over the Indian in great measure backed by his huge serves and his eloquence with the racket continued in the second set too. The only aberration for Karlovic in the second set was extending a break point to Amritraj in the set. The rivals matched each other till 3-3 and in the seventh game the Indian, holding his only break point of the match, failed with a service return. That was the only good point of the set as for Amritraj but he wilted under pressure giving away the initiative in the next three games and gave away the match. In a doubles late night match, the combine of Tomas Cibulec (Cze) and Rainer Schuettler (Ger) rallied to down Christopher Kas (Ger) and Philipp Petzschner (Ger) 2-6 6-3, 1-0 (5).

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  • Ivo Karlovic
  • Prakash Amritraj
  • Rohan Bopanna
  • Leander Paes
  • Tennis

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