Chennai Challenger: Sumit Nagal and Saketh Myneni crash out in first round
Fifth seed Sumit Nagal could not produce his Bengaluru Challenger heroics and went down to Antoine Escoffier of France in the first round of the $50,000 Chennai Challenger on Monday. The World No. 372 broke the 217th ranked Indian four times to claim the win in 1 hour 5 minutes.
Escoffier was very solid on his serve, winning 78% of his first serve points and saved three out of the four break points that he faced.
Asian Games mixed doubles gold medallist Saketh Myneni too joined the young Nagal on the sidelines. Myneni was playing his first match of the season after returning from an injury break and he faced the in-form Arjun Kadhe, who is a qualifier at this tournament.
Kadhe battled hard to dismiss the challenge of Myneni 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours 11 minutes.
Besides Nagal and Myneni, there were quite a few Indian casualties in the first round of this event. N Sriram Balaji was shown the door by Thai qualifier Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, who eked out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win in 2 hours 18 minutes.
Indian wildcard N Vijay Sundar Prashanth bowed out 3-6, 4-6 to the third seed Duckhee Lee and Sasi Kumar Mukund was blown away 3-6, 2-6 by the 356th ranked Gerard Granollers.
18-year-old Nitin Kumar Sinha, who received a wildcard, too could not produce much resistance and went down 3-6, 4-6 to World No. 360 Lucas Catarina. In a first round clash between two Indians, Sidarth Rawat got the better of Dhakshineswar Suresh 6-2, 6-0.
Top seed Jordan Thompson and second seed Yuki Bhambri begin their campaigns on Tuesday.
Indians progress in doubles
Myneni and Balaji had better fortunes in doubles. Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan, who have been given the second seeding, bagged a tight first set and then cruised to a 7-6(8), 6-1 win over Dmitry Popko and Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Fourth seeds Myneni and Luca Margaroli pummelled Adil Kalyanpur and Sasi Kumar Mukund 6-4, 6-3. Top seeds Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana easily beat Chandril and Lakshit Sood 6-0, 6-3.