India’s Arjun Kadhe, along with Jay Clarke, sealed a berth in the doubles finals at the Chennai Open Challenger on Friday with a 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 victory against the Czech Republic pairing of Petr Nouza and Andrew Paulson.
The Indo-Brit pair fell a break behind in the opening set but fought back and made it level at 5-5. The Czech team faltered on serve and failed to force a tiebreaker.
Nouza and Paulson clawed back in the second set and extended the game into a decider.
Kadhe-Clarke conceded a mini-break in the 10-point affair after the Indian failed to middle a return that came his way post a lengthy volley exchange. They slipped even further to 2-3, facing two serves.
Unforced errors by Nouza on an overhead smash and backhand volley, however, reversed the lead in Kadhe-Clarke’s favour. They consolidated the advantage to a 6-3 lead and eventually 8-5.
The Czechs pulled off a late flourish and restored parity at 8-each. Paulson’s bullet first serve, Nouza’s overhead volley and an unforced error by Clarke gave them the points.
But Kadhe, forcing an error from Paulson with his forehand, followed by Clarke’s backhand winner won the pair the match.
Top seeds crash out
Earlier in the day, top-seeded Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji crashed out in the semifinal with a 6-4, 5(5)-7, 4-10 defeat against Sebastian Ofner and Nino Serdarusic.
The Indian pair conceded their first set of the competition, when Ofner-Serdasuric prevailed 7-5 in the second-set tiebreak.
Standing up at the net, Jeevan fluffed a straightforward volley to fall 0-2 and a mini-break behind. Ofner gifted the lead back with a double-fault putting the score back on serve.
The Indian pair kept pace till 5-5. Jeevan engaged in an extended rally from the baseline which Ofner concluded with a forehand winner, beating Balaji at net. With a slender 6-5 lead, a close-range overhead smash from Serdarusic got the pair the set and parity in the encounter.
Earlier in the set, the top seeds were within a point of pulling ahead, in the fifth and ninth games of the second set, but an Ofner backhand and Serdarusic ace prevented that.
While the second set went down to the wire, the Croat-Austrian pair cruised through in the 10-point tiebreak courtesy strong first serves from both players.
They made the first breach after Jeevan’s error at a net-point put them 3-1 ahead. Serdarusic’s ace and forehand winner, followed by a double fault from Balaji saw Ofner-Serdarusic extend their lead to 6-2.
Jeevan found two more points for the Indian pair, both from close range, before their opponents took the decider 10-4.
In the opener, Jeevan-Balaji needed just one break to take a lead. In the seventh game, Balaji dashed to his left to dig out a return and win the point before Jeevan’s passing forehand put the pair a break ahead at 4-3. The Indian duo went on to win the set 6-4.
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