Pakistan tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi and his Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer have advanced to the quarter-finals of the Nice Open doubles event with an easy 6-3, 6-2 win over the American duo of Scott Lipsky and Ram Rajeev.
The third-seeded pair had earlier gotten the better of American James Cerretani and Andre Sa of Brazil 7-5, 6-2 in the tournament’s opening round on Tuesday.
For Aisam, currently ranked 16th in the individual doubles ranking, the event hold immense importance as the Pakistani looks to book a spot at this year’s London Olympics. The 32-year-old is fighting for a return to the top-10 by the end of the French Open to become the first tennis player from Pakistan to feature in the Olympics.
Searching for precious ranking points and precious practice ahead of the French Open, Aisam clinched the Estoril Open with Rojer for his first title with the Dutch partner.
However, the win was followed by a setback as Aisam lost the following tournament, beaten in the Madrid Open quarter-finals by the Indian pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi.
The sea-saw ride has seen Aisam’s rankings slip and it will require a lot of hard work on the Pakistanis’ part to book the London seat.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko beat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the second round of the men’s singles event. Steve Darcis got the better of Filippo Volandri 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
In the WTA Brussels Open, top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland recorded a crushing win over Ukrainian Lesya Tsurenko 6-1, 6-0.
Tsvetana Pironkova beat Russian 10th-seed Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-2, while Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden prevailed over Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, who retired trailing 6-2, 3-1.
In another WTA event in France, Alexandra Panova defeated Lucie Hradecka in a tough battle 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
In another second-round match, fourth-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues prevailed in a thrilling encounter over Su-Wei Hsieh 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/2). American Sloane Stephens beat Timea Babos 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and Johanna Larsson thrashed Tamira Paszek 6-2, 6-0.
Aisam, Rojer’s show
Brisbane – 1st round
Sydney – 1st round
Australian Open – 3rd round
Rotterdam – Quarter-finals
Dubai – 1st round
Indian Wells – 1st round
Miami – 2nd round
Monte-Carlo – 1st round
Barcelona – Quarter-finals
Estoril – Winners
Madrid – Quarter-finals
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.