The Times of India: Balaji squanders match points against Nedovyesov at Pune ATP Challenger

PUNE: Sriram Balajisquandered four match points while suffering an agonising three-set defeat against former world No. 72 Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the second round of the $50,000 KPIT ATP Challenger on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old from Chennai was broken while serving for the match at 5-2 in the decider and then failed to convert 15-40 on the Kazakh’s serve in the next game as he eventually went down 7-5, 4-6, 5-7 at the MSLTA Courts in Mhalunge-Balewadi.

Having conceded a 3-0 lead, Nedovyesov came out guns blazing even as the Tamil Nadu lad went on the defensive from the baseline in the final set.

What must have hurt Balaji, who has had a breakthrough season of sorts in doubles by winning nine titles in Futures and Challengers with Vishnu Vardhan, was that he was still in the frame at 5-5 but dropped serve in the 11th game with two doublefaults.

More salt was rubbed in the wound as Balaji and Vardhan, ranked 138th and 116th respectively, also bowed out of doubles with a 3-6, 4-6 loss to compatriots Saketh Myneni and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.

Sumit Nagal and lucky loser Vijay Sundar Prashanth were the other two Indians to make their exit while Saketh Myneni, Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathanwon in straight sets.

The spotlight was on Nagal who had won four Futures titles this year. But the 20-year-old from Haryana allowed the occasion get the better of him in a 3-6, 4-6 defeat at the hands of Spanish second seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras.
The youngster got upset with a line call from the chair in the seventh game of the second set and received a warning for code violation when he hit the ball into the stands at the end of the game. He never really regained his composure from there on and the match spiralled out.

Myneni, playing on a wildcard, kept his cool while putting out eighth seed Serbian Pedja Krstin 4-6, 6-2, 6-0; Bhambri, for the second successive day, was in imperious form as he tamed Croatian Ante Pavic 6-4, 7-6 (4); and Ramkumar played his fourth tiebreak in a row while overcoming Britain’s Bryden Klein 7-6 (7), 6-3.
Prashanth found top seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, current world No. 102 and a former 68, found too hot to handle in a 3-6, 2-6 loss.
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