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Bopanna loses, Mankad ahead

Bangalore: Harsh Mankad kept Indian hopes alive in the Indian Oil Servo ATP Challenger championships. He advanced to the quarter finals on Wednesday even as compatriots Rohan Bopanna and Vijay Kannan made their exit.

Twenty-three-year-old Mankad, ranked 457 in the world and a wildcard entrant here, knocked out unseeded Russian Dmitry Vlasov 7-5, 6-3, making him the lone Indian in the fray now. Even though Mankad was tested in the first set, it was smooth sailing for the Indian in the second.

In a major upset, top seed and world No. 144 Noam Okun of Israel crashed out, losing 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6 to unseeded Yves Allegro of Switzerland.

But there were no such problems for second seeded Frenchman Gregory Carraz, who carved out a facile 6-3, 6-3 win over Bulgaria’s Todor Enev, to book a quarter final berth.

Disappointment was in store for India’s top singles player and Davis Cupper Bopanna, who had impressed on Tuesday, ousting sixth seed Swede Bjorn Rehnquist in the first round.

Bopanna started on a positive note, winning the first set by 6-1. He, however, failed to maintain the momentum in the next two sets as his fourth seeded opponent from Switzerland Ivo Heuberger rallied to win 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5. Vijay Kannan went down fighting to qualifier Fred Hemmes Jr of The Netherlands 3-6, 6-7 (6-8).

Qualifier Peter Wessels of The Netherlands advanced to the quarter finals, eliminating seventh seed Tuomas Ketola of Finland 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0.

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