Sumit Nagal blunted the challenge of big-serving Beibit Zhukayev with his perseverance while Ankita Raina outgunned Adithya P Karunaratne without fuss as the two Indians inched closer to singles medals by reaching the quarter finals at the Asian Games here on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan's Zhukayev served big but Nagal controlled the points better for a 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 win in a men's singles third round match. Raina cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win over her Hong Kong opponent in the third round of the women's singles event.
The semi-finalists are assured of bronze medals in the tennis event at the Games. However, the singles challenge of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rutuja Bhosale came to an end.
Nagal's movement on court and his retrieving ability were a delight to watch as several times Zhukayev went for drop shots but Nagal reached the ball to fire winners.
Zhukayev was sending down powerful serves and his ground strokes, too, packed a lot of power. But Nagal kept the ball in play enjoying an advantage if the points were long.
Raina, the top Indian woman singles player at 198, converted all three breakpoints she got in the one-hour-34-minute contest and saved two of the three breakpoints she faced against her 354th-ranked rival.
She will now fight it out with Japan's Haruka Kaji (ranked 213) for a place in the semi-finals.
Ranked 336, Bhosale was up against higher-ranked Alexandra Eala (190) from Philippines and went down fighting 6-7 (5) 2-6 in one hour and 51 minutes.
In the men's singles, Ramkumar took the court against world No. 78 Yosuke Watanuki and it was always going to be a tough contest for the Indian, who has been terribly out of form this season.
To his credit, Ramkumar stretched his superior Japanese rival, who had to battle hard for his 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5 win in two hours and 40 minute match.
Both Ramkumar and Bhosale are still alive in the doubles competitions.
In mixed doubles, the top-seeded Indian pair of Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Raina reached the pre-quarter finals with a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Pakistan's Aqeel Khan and Sarah Khan.
However, Bhosale and her partner Karman Kaur Thandi bowed out of the women's doubles after a 5-7, 2-6 defeat against Thailand's Anchisa Chanta and Punnin Kovatitukted in 1 hour and 59 minutes.