AirAsia Open: Saketh Myneni goes down in semifinal

The third seeded Indian would be the first to acknowledge that his loss in the semifinals of the $50,000 AirAsia Open ATP Challenger at the KSLTA stadium could be attributed equally to the unforced errors that had crept into his game.

Saketh Myneni lost to Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-4, 6-4.   -  PTI

Saketh Myneni had talked about the physicality of the game and the toll on the body after his quarterfinal win on Friday, and Adrian Menendez-Maceiras also alluded to it after he shattered the Indian’s hopes with a straight-set win here on Saturday.

But the third seeded Indian would be the first to acknowledge that his loss in the semifinals of the $50,000 AirAsia Open ATP Challenger at the KSLTA stadium could be attributed equally to the unforced errors that had crept into his game.

Watching the match, and hearing the top seeded Spaniard grunt during the long rallies, you could be pardoned if you thought Myneni was winning. The Indian used his reach and long strides to reach unreachable balls and sent in his returns to keep alive the point but then faltered when going for the winners.

Where on the previous days Myneni’s returns skimmed the top of the net, on Saturday they invariably failed to clear it. He did dish out his signature serves, Myneni started off with a blistering ace, but every so often that was followed by an unforced error under absolutely no pressure; at least from his opponent, the vociferous crowd though may have played on his mind.

Game three in the first set, when he handed the break to Menendez-Maceiras, Myneni missed a sitter of an overhead smash with the Spaniard stranded at one corner. The pattern repeated itself throughout the match and in game seven of the second set Myneni’s follow-ups to two aces were double-faults.

Otherwise statistically not much separated the two – the Indian in fact shaded his opponents on aces served 8-5; their first serve points won percentage favouring the Spaniard at 83-74 – but it was break points won that proved the clincher. Menendez-Maceiras won two of the four that came his way, while Myneni was unable to convert his two.

Speaking after the match, Menendez-Maceiras said, “It was a tough game. He [Myneni] was probably tired after playing the whole of last week and here. Plus I had beaten him in a tournament earlier in Uzbekistan, so I had a measure of his game,” said Menendez-Maceiras.

“But I am happy. I haven’t won since 2007, though I did win a couple of doubles titles last year and reached singles two finals this season before this in Mexico and New Caledonia. I am keen to get things right on Sunday,” he added.

Results

Singles semifinals: Adrian Menendez-Maceiras bt Saketh Myneni 6-4, 6-4.