Wi l d c a r d S a k e t h  Myneni registered the first upset, N Sriram Balaji fell tantalisingly short of logging one himself and Yuki Bhambri stayed on track on a day of mixed fortunes for Indians in the $50000+ Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger, at the Mhalunge- Balewadi Tennis Complex courts, here on Wednesday. Saketh held centre stage showing No. 8 seed Serbian Pedja Krstin the door with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 win to enter the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. In contrast, N. Balaji worked hard to a position of strength before going down to an experienced Kazakh Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-5, 4-6, 5-7.

In an evening encounter, India’s top bet Yuki Bhambri added cheer with an easy win over unseeded Ante Pavic (Croatia) 6-4, 7-6 to become the second Indian player to enter the last- 8. Later, Haryana’s Sumit Nagal was no match to No 2 Adrian Menendez- Maceiras (ESP) and lost 6-3, 6-4.

Centre Court provided a treat in the form of Saketh who clinically tamed his younger opponent. In the first set, Saketh began his quest saving two break points to hold serve. He then broke the Croat for a 2-0 lead. However, Saketh had 22-year old Pedja fight back to trail 2-3after being broken in the 3rd and 5th games. Thereafter, both players held serve leaving te Indian in arrears.

In the second set Saketh was fired up after both held serve (2-2). Thereafter, Sakath won four games in a row to given himself another chance. Down to the decider, the 30-year-old Indian showed class by extending his run to 10 games which also meant winning the set 6-0. The 6’4” hurled five aces (18 in total) in the set, gained from a host of double faults by the Croat to walked tall.

“First off all it is great to find my rhythm back, coming from long injury break and getting back to tennis is more satisfying,” Myneni said after the match.” “Playing against good player, you need to start slow, I was 2 love up in first set, but he broke me and I miss-hit a few shots and… he moved (Pedja) ahead,” he added.

On the adjacent, Court 1, Balaji was locked in a battle royale with Kazakh Aleksandr. Sharing a set each, the decider was a treat. Up 5-3, Balaji let go of the advantage allowing his opponent to level 5-5.

In the 11th, Balaji on serve saved eight break points to frustrate the Kazaks bid to force the advantage. However, a wide backhand return and a double fault, the India’s seventh in the match, put paid to his heroic effort and rail 5-6.

Balaji thereafter faced the Khazak who did not let go. Down 0-30, Balaji had an ace wiz by through the centre and then engaged in a long rally only to end up netting a return and sign off from the gallant fight.

The day also witnessed another upset when Great Britian’s Jay Clarke (packed off seventh seeded Evan King (USA) 6-3, 6-4, while No. 5 Serb Nikola Milojevic ended the challenge of qualifier Hugo Grenier (France) 7-5, 6-3.

Following are the results: Singles: Second Round

[WC] Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Pedja Krstin (SRB) [8] 4-6, 6-2, 6-0; Nikola Milojevic (SRB) [5] bt [Q] Hugo Grenier (FRA) 7-5, 6-3; Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Evan King (USA) [7] 6-3, 6-4; Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) [2] bt Sumit Nagal (IND)- 6-3, 6-4; Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) [9] bt N.Sriram Balaji (IND) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5; Yuki Bhambri (IND) [3] bt Ante Pavic (CRO) 6-4, 7-6

Doubles: Main Draw: First Round: Scott Clayton (GBR)/ Jonny O’Mara (GBR) [4] bt Timur Khabibulin (KAZ)/ Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) 6-3, 4-6, 10-8; Pedro Martinez (ESP)/Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) bt Geoffrey Blancaneaux (FRA)/Jay Clarke (GBR)6-7, 6-3, 10-8; Ivan Sabanov (CRO)/ Matej Sabanov (CRO) bt Arjun Kadhe(IND)/ N Vijay Sundar Prashanth (IND) 6-3, 7-5 Quarter Final:Doubles: Scott Clayton (GBR)/ Jonny O’Mara (GBR) [4] bt Ivan Sabanov (CRO)/ Matej Sabanov (CRO) 6-2,6-4.



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