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Soeda battles past Prakash, books last-eight spot
Jan 2, 2013: 23:58 IST
Go Soeda, the eighth seed from Japan, dug deep into his reserves to get past a battling qualifier Prakash Amritraj 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4, to book his berth in the quarterfinals of the Aircel ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament, here on Wednesday.
The 28-year old Soeda, ranked 60, saved a set point in the first and then shrugged off a wayward second to win in three over US-born Amritraj, coming back on the tour after a two-year break.
In a touch-and-go match that lasted all of two hours and 29 minutes, there was little to separate the two as Amritraj, ranked 551, wasted a set point when serving at 5-4 in the first, allowing the Japanese to break back and eventually take the tie-break dropping just two points.
In the second set, it was Amritraj all the way as he broke Soeda, a semifinalist here last year, in the third and ninth games to draw level. The decider saw both serving well until Soeda broke Amritraj in the ninth and then served out the set for the match.
On the day, Amritraj, who came through a tough qualifying competition and had beaten fancied Guillaume Rufin in three sets Tuesday, showcased his fitness as he matched the Japanese stroke for stroke and even outplayed the higher-ranked opponent in spells. However, Soeda did well to gather himself after an error-ridden second set that Amritraj dominated with some telling netplay and passes and blasted timely winners in the third to emerge a deserving winner.
Meanwhile, on the outside court, Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene packed off sixth seeded Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-3 to also advance to the round of eight. Second seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia got the better of Roger-Vasselin of France 6-2, 6-3 in another second round tie.
Berdych wary of Somdev
World No 6 and top seed Tomas Berdych on Tuesday gave Somdev Devvarman due respect and said he is “careful” ahead of his second-round match against the Indian on Thursday.
“He is playing at home but I will try to stick to my plan and try my best. I am meeting him for the first time so I will be careful from the first point and stay focused through the match,” Berdych said ahead of the match against Devvarman, a finalist in 2009. “These days players do not bother whether you have won Davis Cup or not. It is going to be the same tomorrow. I always strive to win till the last point of match,” he added. A finalist in 2010 Wimbledon, Berdych, whose phenomenal performance helped Czec Republic win the Hopman Cup, Fed Cup and Davis Cup last year, said that his goal for this season is to do well in the Grand Slams.
“At the beginning of a new season, I always work on my fitness and try to keep my body injury free. My performances last year were good. For this season, I will try to get some good results in Grand Slams.”
The hard-hitting Berdych, who is stuck on the number six ranking for a couple of years now, said: “Players ahead of me are extremely tough. David Ferrer, who is ranked just above me, is also playing extremely well.
“But during the off season there was time for some rest. So I have done everything in terms of keeping myself fit and I was busy with workouts. I would try to move higher in rankings in the new season. I am well prepared for the season both mentally and physically.”
The Czech stressed that there were some areas in his game which needed improvements. “It is basically working on small things, mental preparation and a bit of luck.”