Indian men’s tennis players had a wretched run in the ATP Astana Challenger with as many as three of them being shown the exit door.
N Sriram Balaji crashed out in the opening round to Turkey’s 169th ranked Marsel Ilhan 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 0-6.
Sriram, who won the Chennai ITF Futures earlier this year, fought hard but lost the first set narrowly. The 329th ranked Indian rebounded winning the second set before the wheels came off his game as Marsel broke his serve thrice to win it at love.
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, ranked 374th in the world, also bowed out in the first round, losing to Georgia’s 312th ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili 5-7, 6-2, 6-7 (3).
Jeevan lost a tight first set before mounting a serious fightback to bring things on level terms, winning the second set at 6-2.
He was distinctly unlucky to lose the decider in tie-break.
528th ranked Vishnu Vardhan went down to Belarus’ 512th ranked Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-7 (3), 4-6 in the qualifying round.
The India showed a lot of pluck to clinch the second set after losing the opening set. But Egor had the last laugh in the decider.
Meanwhile, at the ATP Atlanta hardcourt tournament, 275th ranked Prakash Amritraj crashed out in the qualifying round to Germany’s 144th ranked Mischa Zverev 4-6, 2-6.
Earlier in the first qualifying round match, Prakash got the better of India’s top-ranked men’s singles player Somdev Devvaram in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
The win over 128th ranked Somdev should help Prakash climb in the ATP rankings next week.Published 25 Jul 2013, 23:37 IST