What's the story?
National champion Niki Poonacha has progressed to the pre-quarter-finals of the Bengaluru Open 2020 with an upset win over 16th-seeded Lukas Rosol on Tuesday. The Indian tennis star beat his Czech rival 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted for an hour and 45 minutes.
Poonacha had grabbed the limelight after winning the national championships last year. The upcoming star began his Bengaluru Open 2020 campaign with a victory against compatriot Adil Kalyanpur. However, not many expected him to progress further in the tournament as his next opponent, Rosol, defeated Rafael Nadal in a Wimbledon match in 2012.
Rosol once held the 26th position in the ATP Rankings, however, his performances have dipped over the years and he is out of the top 100 at the moment. Still, he is ranked way ahead of Poonacha and also, he held the 16th seed in the ATP Challenger tournament.
The heart of the matter
Playing one of the biggest matches of his career, the unseeded Indian youngster showcased his confidence by taking the first set 6-4. But Rosol bounced back with an easy 6-2 win in the second set. Poonacha kept his nerve in the decider as he ousted his opponent from the competition with a 6-3 win in the final set.
Talking to PTI after the biggest win of his career, Poonacha said:
“I am thrilled to have reached this stage of a Challenger event which was my dream since the last year. And having beaten a seeded player I am even more happy.”
The Indian tennis fans have had much to cheer for at the Bengaluru Open 2020 as even Saketh Myneni sealed his pre-quarter-finals berth with a 6-3, 6-3 win against sixth-seeded Russian player, Evgeny Donskoy. Also, Abhinav Shanmugam overcame a challenge from Daniel Masur with a scoreline line of 7-5, 6-3.
Poonacha will lock horns with Rosol's doubles partner and third-seed Yuichi Sugita in the Round of 16. It will be interesting to see if he can make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament.Published 12 Feb 2020, 12:30 IST