Saketh huffs and puffs into quarter-finals

He started and ended the match with an ace, but third seed Saketh Myneni would have been a much relieved man after winning his pre-quarterfinal against Dane Propoggia at the AirAsia Open in Bengaluru.

Saketh Myneni is currently at a career best ATP ranking of 166 in the Men's Singles.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

He started and ended the match with an ace, but third seed Saketh Myneni would have been a much relieved man after winning his pre-quarterfinal against Dane Propoggia in the $50,000 AirAsia Open ATP Challenger at the KSLTA tennis stadium here on Wednesday afternoon.

Myneni wrapped up the match 11-9 in the second set tie-break, but it is a talking point who would have cracked, had the match gone to the third. For a while the Indian was clearly tiring and reaching for the ball. He decided to use his massive frame to go for service winners when his Australian opponent was finding it difficult to get his serves in after a second set medical timeout.

But here’s the funny part, up a break at 3-0 in the second and having polished off the first in 35 minutes (the second took an hour and four minutes), Myneni should have been a shoo in for easy win. As it turned out, Propoggia after having his shoulder tended to at that juncture, suddenly seemed to find his range and winners.

He was in with a chance to break Myneni in the fifth game. While that chance frittered out, Propoggia finally broke back in the seventh with his fifth break point of that game.

With the set back on serve, Myneni hammered in three aces in the 11th to make it 6-5 and even had two match-points in the next only for the doughty Australian to hold on firmly.

Come the tie-break and Propoggia was up break by 3-2, which soon morphed to 5-2. Here is where Myneni cranked it up again, brought it back to 5-all before breaking ahead at 10-9 and then closing it out with an ace.

The Indian has a tough opponent up next in fifth-seed Yannick Mertens. The Belgian too had to dig deep into his reserves in the second set to see off Sumit Nagal. In an eerily similar situation, Nagal fought back from 4-0 down in the second set to take it all the way to the tie-break only for the Belgian to prevail in the tie-break.

Results

Singles (Pre-quarterfinals) - Arthur de Greef (Bel) bt Ti Chen (Tpe) 7-5, 7-5; Yannick Mertens (Bel) bt Sumit Nagal (Ind) 6-2, 7-6(4); Saketh Myneni (Ind) bt Dane Propoggia (Aus) 6-4, 7-6(9); Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) bt G. Prajnesh (Ind) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Doubles (Quarterfinals) - John Paul Fruttero (USA) & N. Vijay Sundar Prasanth (Ind) bt Petros Chrysochos (Cyp) & Temur Ismailov (Uzb) 6-2, 6-2; Saketh Myneni & Sanam Singh (Ind) bt Egor Gerasimov & Ilya Ivashka (Blr) 7-6(3), 6-1; Ti Chen & Dane Propoggia (Aus) bt Sumit Nagal & Vishnu Vardhan (Ind) 7-6(5), 6-4.