Indian tennis round-up: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan reaches Kobe final; Leander Paes and Purav Raja advance in Knoxville
Indian tennis ace Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan continues his rampage on the ATP Challenger circuit as he reached yet another final at the Hyogo Noah Challenger in Kobe, Japan on Friday. The Indian and his Indonesian partner, Christopher Rungkat, who are seeded fourth, upset the second seeded Australian combine of Alex Bolt and Bradley Mousley, 6-7(7), 6-4, 10-7 in the semi-final match that lasted 1 hour 21 minutes.
In the summit clash, the fourth seeds will take on the unseeded Japanese duo of Ben Mclachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama. The latter stunned the third seeds Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana, 6-3, 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Each of the teams produced seven aces and won 78% of their first serve points. The Indo-Indonesian pair was way better on break point conversion and could make use of three out of the five chances they got.
Bolt and Mousley, in contrast, could convert just two of their seven break point opportunities. Nedunchezhiyan and Rungkat finished with a total of 75 points while Bolt and Mousley could bag only 73 points.
Nedunchezhiyan has lost just thrice before the quarter-finals in his last eight Challenger tournaments, with his best result coming at the Ningbo Challenger where he and Rungkat finished as the runners-up to Radu Albot and Rubin Statham. The southpaw started the 2017 season with an ATP title at the Chennai Open which he won in partnership with Rohan Bopanna.
Paes and Raja in Knoxville semis
At the Knoxville Challenger in the USA, the top seeded pair of Leander Paes and Purav Raja needed just 55 minutes to dismiss the British team of Liam Broady and Marcus Willis, 7-5, 6-0 en route to the semi-finals. Paes and Raja secured four breaks of serve without conceding any break point.
They grabbed a total of 60 points while the British pair could only manage 38 points in this one-sided contest. The Indians next meet the third seeds Joe Salisbury and Ruan Roelofse for a place in the final.
Paes and Raja had been struggling ever since joining forces at the Winston-Salem Open right before the US Open. Their best performance has so far been a semi-final appearance at the ATP 250 St Petersburg Open in September out of the seven tournaments that they played together.