Chennai Open Challenger: Nagal crashes out, Kadhe dumps Myneni

Sumit Nagal lost to Frenchman Antoine Escoffier while qualifier Arjun Kadhe came from behind to trump the experienced Saketh Myneni in the Chennai Open Challenger at SDAT tennis courts in Nungambakkam on Monday.

Arjun Kadhe came back from a set down to defeat the experienced Saketh Myneni 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.    -  R. Ragu

Sumit Nagal was the first seed to fall as Frenchman Antoine Escoffier served him a 6-3, 6-3 thrashing on the first day of the Chennai Open Challenger at SDAT tennis courts in Nungambakkam on Monday.

Nagal's game was strewn with errors and he squandered many a chance in the first set as Escoffier – who is making his sixth appearance in India – held his nerve effectively to take the set.

The Indian youngster seemed to have made a strong start in the second set by breaking Escoffier's serve, but the Frenchman broke him right back and held his serve to take a 2-1 lead. The next four games went on serve until Escoffier staged another break to make it 5-3 and with that, clinched the tie in his second match point.

READ: Nagal teams up with David Ferrer's coach

Third-seed Duckhee Lee got his campaign off to a winning start as he saw off a determined Vijay Sundar Prashant in the sweltering afternoon heat. Lee breezed through the first set but seemed to struggle in the second as Prashant threatened to stage a late comeback. Lee was leading at 5-2 and was serving for the match but was unable to find the winning touch as Prashant clawed his way back to make it 5-4.

The South Korean, however, gathered his nerves and finally sealed the affair off his fifth match point to win 6-3, 6-4.

Kadhe dumps Myneni

In the first match of the day, qualifier Arjun Kadhe came back from a set down to defeat the experienced Saketh Myneni 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.  Myneni seemed to struggle in the humid conditions and Kadhe took full advantage by finding all the corners of the court, leaving Myneni gasping.

Kadhe dished out a deft backhand volley to wrap up the match in a little over two hours. He next faces fourth seed Mohamed Safwat in the second round.

Ratiwatana brothers advance

In a rare occurrence, two sets of twins took the court in the final doubles match of the day. The Thailand pair of Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana took on the Indian twin duo of Chandril and Lakshit Sood. It proved to be a rather bland affair as the experienced Ratiwatanas gave the Soods a schooling and picked up a comfortable 6-0, 6-3 win.

READ: Ratiwatana Twins: 'The Bryan Bros.' of the Challenger circuit

While the day began with 13 Indians in the main draw, as many as seven crashed out in the first hurdle.

Top-seed Jordan Thompson will kick things off on day two when he takes on Egypt's Karim-Mohamed Maamoun at centre court. Leading the Indian contingent, second seed and title contender Yuki Bhambri will look for a win against Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles, a player who he claims he has never heard of.

The results (first round, Indians unless mentioned):

Singles
: Arjun Kadhe bt Saketh Myneni 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4; Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (Tha) bt Sriram Balaji 6-4, 3-6, 7-5; Gerard Granollers (Esp) bt Sasi Kumar Mukund 6-3, 6-2; Duckhee Lee (Kor) bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-3, 6-4; Sidharth Rawat bt S. Dhakshineswar 6-2, 6-0; Mohamed Safwat (Egy) bt Alessandro Bega (Ita) 6-4, 6-3; Antoine Escoffier (Fra) bt Sumit Nagal 6-3, 6-3; Lucas Catarina (Mon) bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles: Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana bt Chandril Sood and Lakshit Sood 6-0, 6-3; Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan bt Dmitry Popko (Kaz) and Bernabe Zapata Miralles (Esp) 7-6 (8), 6-1; Luca Margaroli (Sui) and Saketh Myneni bt Adil Kalyanpur and Sasi Kumar Mukund 6-4, 6-3.