Tennis: Hosts smother Kiwi hopes

By David Leggat

Marina Erakovic. Photo / NZ Herald
Marina Erakovic. Photo / NZ Herald

It was Indo-Kiwi day at the R.H. Khanna Stadium yesterday and it was the hosts who came away smiling.

New Zealand's two singles players, Rubin Statham and Marina Erakovic, were back-to-back on centre court against the two big home town hopes in the quarter-finals.

World No 100 and top seed, Somdev Devvarman, eased past Statham 6-3, 6-4 in 1h 42min, while No 2 seed Sania Mirza was untroubled to beat Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-3.

And so they should, considering Statham is world No 348; Erakovic, coming back after lingering injury issues, No 321.

You'd have thought there would be something approximating a full house on centre court for what should have been an interesting session for the Delhi-ites.

But the stands were no more than a third full, and a large chunk of those were volunteers taking a break from duties.

Mirza is very popular in India, if not quite as popular as she was before marrying Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. She was a world top 30 player before slipping down the rankings and now she's at No 131.

The top seed is Australian Anastasia Rodionova, the world No 65.

Those numbers, along with Devvarman's, give a clue on the crowds. This is small beer by international standards, and perhaps the crowds reflect that.

- NZ Herald

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