Mukund reaches ATP Challenger final in career-best show

The 12th seed Mukund, who was recently named in Indian Davis Cup squad as a reserve member, beat Tung-Lin Wu 7-5 6-3 in the semifinals of the USD 54,160 clay-court event.

Reaching the Chennai Open semifinal was Mukund’s best singles performance before entering this event.   -  FILE PHOTO/K.V. SRINIVASAN

Indian tennis player Sasi Kumar Mukund pulled off the biggest result of his career, reaching his maiden singles final on the ATP Challenger Tour, here on Saturday.

The 12th seed Mukund, who was recently named in Indian Davis Cup squad as a reserve member, beat Tung-Lin Wu 7-5 6-3 in the semifinals of the USD 54,160 clay-court event.

To make it even more special, Mukund later joined hands with Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili to make the men’s doubles title clash too, winning 6-3 3-6 13-11 against top seeds Goncalo Oliveira and Luke Saville.

Reaching the Chennai Open semifinal was Mukund’s best singles performance before entering this event.

The season has been average for the 21-year-old Mukund, who struggled to go beyond the second rounds on the Challenger circuit.

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Mukund said he went in with a “clear mind” in this tournament.

“To start off, I was much more confident than the other days and more clear in the mind, especially after 13 first and second rounds. So after the wins here, I was more relaxed in the mind. I definitely was able to play confident tennis,” he said.

“I was trying different things all year and that’s why it didn’t work. This is the only week I kept things more simple and stuck to basics throughout all the matches and during important points.”

He next faces Australian top seed James Duckworth.

Talking about Saturday’s semifinal, he said, “There were many match-turning moments but I always felt I just had to do the right things and everything will be fine. That’s how the whole week has gone. I just went in to play my game and not force results.”

He gave an example how he let it slip recently when he was desperate to win.

“In Israel, keeping Wimbledon Qualifiers in mind, I was up a match point to make it in the quarters but got tight. It took me a long time to get over it as I would have played the US Open as well. But looks like I learnt my lesson, so looking forward to keeping things simple tomorrow,” he said.