Chennai Open Challenger: Indians fail to impress

Thirteen of the top 15 ranked Indians played the tournament – the most since the Pune Challenger in 2016 – but only one managed to make the quarters.

Arjun Khade

Arjun Khade was among the Indian talents who failed to make an impact at the Chennai Open Challengers.   -  R. Ragu

 

The Chennai Open Challenger was seen as a springboard for Indians players to step up and make an impression but the players simply failed to seize the opportunity. An impressive 13 Indians made it to the main draw – the most since the Pune Challenger in 2016 – but that's where all the good things end.

Of the 13 that made the draw, a mere four Indians crossed the first round. And of the four – namely Yuki Bhambri, Arjun Kadhe, Sidhart Rawat and S. Abhinav Sanjeev – Bhambri was the only one to make it to the quarterfinal.

Here's a look at how the four Indians reached the second round. Kadhe made the round-of-16 by defeating fellow Indian Saketh Myneni, while Rawat defeated wildcard recipient Dakshineshwar Suresh. Since these games involved Indians on both sides of the court, it was only inevitable that either of them made the next round.

Sanjeev, on the other hand, was the luckiest of the lot as his opponent Ivan Nedelko retired in their first-round match. His contender in the second round of qualifying too suffered a similar fate, before the local lad received a walkover in the final round to make it to the last 32.

Bhambri was the only one who played a foreign opponent and remains the only Indian to defeat an overseas player thus far.

To sum up, two Indians made it because they played their compatriots, one got lucky, while the last one was the only one to face any real challenge.

Worst performance across five Challengers

“It's quite a disappointing show. This is a big platform for Indians to perform and they had more chances with wildcards and the qualifiers but failed to make an impact,” said TNTA vice-president Karti Chidambaram.

This remains India's worst performance in terms of the number of represents in the quarterfinal stage of any Challenger event since the Kolkata Open in 2015. Another staggering fact is that 13 of the top 15 ranked Indians played the tournament but only one managed to make the quarters.