By Alexandra Willis
7 October 2010
India is leading the charge at the inaugural tennis event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi after Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman both progressed to the semi-finals of the women’s and men’s singles respectively. National pin-up Mirza, the world No.137, appeared to relish the home support at the R.K.Khanna Tennis Stadium as she swept past New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-3 to put herself within grasping distance of a medal in Delhi.
World No.97 Devvarman, who earlier this year became the first Indian to play in the men’s singles main draw of a Grand Slam since Vijay Amritraj , qualifying for the French Open and reaching the main draw of the US Open on his ranking, had little difficulty completing a 6-3, 6-4 win against Rubin Statham of New Zealand to put himself in the semi-finals.
The tennis-mad host nation also have representatives in the latter stages of the men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, somewhat fitting considering that the Indians played a large part in getting the sport accepted into the Delhi games for the first, and possibly only, time.
Rohan Bopanna, who last month reached the US Open men’s doubles final alongside Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, partners Devvarman in the quarter-finals against Australians Matthew Ebden and Greg Jones, while Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face England’s Josh Goodall and James Ward in the same stage. In the women’s draws, Mirza and partner Rushmi Chakravarthi are through to the doubles semi-finals, while Mirza and Paes are also into the mixed doubles quarter-finals.
India currently has 29 men on the professional tour, 15 of whom are ranked within the world’s top 1000. There are 10 Indian women with a world ranking.
The host nation is second in the overall Commonwealth Games medal table behind Australia, with 12 gold, eight silver, and six bronze medals won to date.
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