Top-seeded Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji completed a straight-set 6-4, 7-5 victory over Frederico Ferreira Silva and Nicolas Moreno De Alboran to cap off Wednesday’s action at the Chennai Open Challenger.
With a set in their pocket, Jeevan-Balaji put pressure from the start, and powerful first serves along with the willingness to attack the net got them through.
They put the tactic on display in the fifth game, which the Indians won when Jeevan crouched low at the net and sprung onto a lobbed return off Balaji’s rocket serve.
In the fifth game, with the score level at 15 apiece, Jeevan parked a smash which nearly landed in the first-floor lobby of the spectators’ stand.
Silva and Alboran, too, focused on approaching the net but with feather-touch put-aways.
Save for the 12th game, the Portuguese-American pair was able to hold their serve. Its only miss, however, cost it the match. Asked to extend the contest to a tiebreak, a double fault by Silva and a backhand miss by Albaron from close range handed Jeevan-Balaji two break points. The Indians needed only one to settle the game, set and match.
In the first set, the Indian pair got off to a less-than-ideal start and was broken in the first game. A forehand error by Silva on the deciding point in the sixth, allowed Jeevan-Balaji to pull square, though.
They broke again in the 10th game of the set to collect the set 6-4.
The pairing of Mukund Sasikumar and Sumit Nagal was the second all-Indian team to advance to the quarterfinals.
After trailing 1-5 in the opening set to Christopher Rungkat and Yu Hsiou Hsu, Mukund-Nagal recovered by winning six straight games and forcing a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreak, which turned out to be a marathon, the Indian duo fell four points behind without opening their account. Accurate volley smashes from close to the net by Nagal, coupled with a botched up backhand and a double fault by Hsu allowed Mukund-Nagal to sneak back to level terms at 6-6.
The tug of war continued till 12 each until the Indians pulled away at 14-12 to claim the set. An injury to Rungkat in the following set brought a premature end to the contest, allowing the Indians to advance.
The two Indian pairs will face off in the last-eight match on Thursday.
Arjun Kadhe, fresh off a runner-up finish in doubles at the Vilnius Challenger in Lithuania, got his campaign off to a winning start. Teamed up with Britain’s Jay Clarke, Kadhe advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 win against Australia’s Dayne Kelly and Dane Sweeny.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Vishnu Vardhan squandered a lead and crashed out with a 6-1, 6(4)-7, 5-10 loss to South Korea’s Min Kyu Song and Ji Sung Nam.
Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prasanth lost to the British-Czech team of Ryan Peniston and Dalibor Svrcina 6(7)-7, 1-6. 7-10.
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