Myneni, Prajnesh only Indians left in singles event

The third day of the $ 50,000 KPIT-MSLTA Challenger tournament at the Balewadi Sports Complex here turned out to be safe and secured for the seeded players, with the notable exception of Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain defeated Sumit Nagal India 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.   -  G.Vishwanath

The third day of the $ 50,000 KPIT-MSLTA Challenger tournament at the Balewadi Sports Complex here turned out to be safe and secured for the seeded players, with the notable exception of Ramkumar Ramanathan. The No. 5 seeded Indian competed well for almost one and half hours over 138 points (58 in the first and 80 in the second) before losing the second round match in a sluggish manner to the persevering Frenchman, Sadio Doumbia. The 21-year-old Indian playing his 380th pro-circuit match double faulted twice to concede the last two points of the second set and bow out of the tournament. None of the other seeded players faced major hurdles to advance to the quarterfinal of the tournament, but the Indians were cut to size in the second round.

The Russian top seed Evgeny Donskoy made short work of Indian wild card entrant, the 16-year-old Dhruv Sunish in under one hour. The 26-year-year from Moscow looked far from a player ranked high as 108 in the ATP list, but after floundering on routine ground strokes, the right hander powered his way to a good win and to earn a meeting with Doumbia. The young Sunish played some bold shots though.

Ramanathan’s exit from the second round of a Challenger event was an improvement over his first round losses at Ho-Chi-Minh City, Genoa, Como in Italy, Aptos (USA) after a second round defeat against Australian Andrew Whittington in the Lexington (USA) Challenger. His best result this year has been reaching the semifinal of the Binghamton Challenger in July last. He also reached the semifinal of the Samarkand (Uzbekistan) Challenger in May last year.

Ramanathan and Doumbia engaged themselves in a duel at the Centre Court and the first three games suggested that the match would turn out to be exhilarating and go to the wire. The first game itself was decided on the extra point and the third game on the 16th. Ramanathan had his moments sending down aces, but he muffed at least a dozen opportunities missing customary strokes and paid a heavy price. Playing with a never-say-die attitude the Frenchman won two games without conceding a point, proceeded to win the match and stay in the tournament.

While Ramanathan’s exit was disappointing, Saketh Myneni and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, pitted against Indians, progressed to the last eight and are assured of 15 ATP points. But after winning the first set and with an opportunity on serve to win the second set and match, the eighth Indian in the second round Sumit Nagal faltered and lost to the lone overseas wild card candidate and the No. 4 seed from Spain, Adrian Menendez-Maceiras. With 36 games and 26 tie-break points played, line calls being disputed a number of times and time lost on clearing leaf litter (caused by strong winds) on the court, the match took three hours and 15 minutes to be completed .

Results: Men’s singles (2nd round) 1- Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) bt wc-Dhruv Sunish (India) 6-3, 6-2, 2-Duckhee Lee (Korea) bt Q-Luca Margaroli (Switzerland) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 3-Saket Myneni (India) bt Sidharth Rawat (India) 6-0, 2-6, 6-1, Sadio Doumbia (France) bt 5-Ramkumar Ramanathan (India) 6-2, 7-5, 6-Nikola Milojevic (Serbia) bt Fabien Reboul (France) 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), 7-Dmitry Popko (Kazakhstan) bt Vishnu Vardhan (India) 6-4, 6-4, 8-Prajnesh Gunneswaran (India) bt N.Vijay Sundar Prashanth (India) 6-4, 6-2, Q/4- Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Spain) bt Sumit Nagal (India 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

Men’s doubles (quarterfinals) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth (India) bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma and Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash (India) 6-2,6-4, Nikola Milojevic and Danilo Petrovic (Serbia) bt Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan (India) 6-3,6-4; (1st round) Leander Paes and Ramkumar Ramnathan (India) bt Anvit Bendre and Sidharth Rawat (India) 6-3, 6-4,

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