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HometennisDoubles the realistic hope for medals in tennis for Indians

Doubles the realistic hope for medals in tennis for Indians

Rohan Bopanna has been the nucleus of Indian tennis over the past few weeks.

After finishing the runner-up in the men’s doubles competition at the US Open, partnering Australia’s Matthew Ebden, the 43-year-old bid adieu to his 21-year-long Davis Cup journey with a win over Morocco in Lucknow last weekend.

The spotlight will continue to be on Bopanna for the next couple of days when he leads a nine-member Indian tennis contingent at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. While he will partner Yuki Bhambri in the men’s doubles – as the top seeds – Bopanna will pair up with Rutuja Bhosale in the mixed doubles draw.

The Kodava will hope to defend his doubles gold that he won in 2018 along with Divij Sharan. Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan will be the other Indian pair, seeded two, in fray in the men’s doubles category.

With realistic expectations of a medal in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles sections, India’s singles entrants have a tough task of making it to the podium. Though Sumit Nagal is the fifth highest ranked player at 159 in the men’s singles draw, the Chinese duo of Zhizhen Zhang (60), Yibing Wu (98), Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki (78) and South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon (112) will make his run in the later stages difficult.Nagal, however, has got a bye in his opening round.

The other Indian, Ramkumar Ramanathan,has also got a first round bye and will start his campaign against Tajikistan’s Sunatullo Isroilov.

In the women’s singles, World No. 184 Ankita Raina will hope to add another individual medal to the bronze she won in the previous edition. The 30-year-old is seeded third.Rutuja will be the other Indian woman in the draw from which Karman Kaur Thandi withdrew due to a hip injury.

The women’s doubles will see Ankita share the court with Prarthana Thombare while Karman and Rutuja make the other duo.

In the mixed doubles, Bhambri and Ankita have been given the top billing while Bopanna and Bhosale are seeded second.

While India have won 32 medals in tennis, including nine gold, six silver and 17 bronze, their most successful tennis player at the continental bash, Sania Mirza, with a total of eight medals, will sorely be missed after she announced her retirement early this year.

Indians in tennis events: Men’s singles: Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan. 

Women’s singles: Ankita Raina, Rutuja Bhosale.

Men’s doubles: Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan. 

Women’s doubles: Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare, Karman Kaur Thandi and Rutuja Bhosale. 

Mixed doubles: Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Raina, Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale. 

(Published 23 September 2023, 14:21 IST)

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