Indian tennis round-up: Saketh Myneni stuns top seed in Pune, Leander Paes-Purav Raja reach semis in Champaign
Thursday turned out to be a day of delights for the Indian tennis brigade as players from the country registered wins at both the Pune Challenger in India and the Champaign Challenger in the USA. It was Saketh Myneni, who stole the spotlight in Pune with a stunning performance that sent the top seed and World No. 102 Blaz Kavcic packing in the quarter-finals.
2017 has not been kind to the 2014 Asian Games mixed doubles gold medallist Myneni. In an injury-ravaged year, his ranking has plummeted to a lowly 907th and he has managed to play just three ATP Challenger events since the Australian Open.
But that did not stop the wildcard from notching up a 7-6(5), 7-6(5) win over Kavcic in a two-hour match en route to the first singles semi-final for the 30-year-old on the Tour this year.
Saketh’s break point conversion was pretty decent. In the first set, he managed to make use of three of the six chances that he got while in the second set, he converted on both his opportunities. In contrast, Kavcic had a paltry 31% success, being able to convert just five out of 16 break points.
The giant-killing Myneni next meets the fourth seeded Ramkumar Ramanathan in a blockbuster all-Indian semi-final. The latter beat the fifth seeded Nikola Milojevic, 6-1, 7-5 after breaking the Serbian thrice.
The other semi-final will be between the second seeded Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and the third seeded Yuki Bhambri.
Bhambri emerged a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 winner over Great Britain’s Jay Clarke while the second-seeded Spaniard advanced to the last-four stage when Aleksandr Nedovyesov retired, trailing 5-7, 1-4.
Myneni is also in the hunt for the doubles title at Pune. He and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan blanked Sumit Nagal and Naoki Nakagawa, 6-0, 6-3 in just 51 minutes to secure their semi-final spot. Myneni is looking to win his second Challenger doubles title of the season after triumphing at the Vietnam Open alongside N Vijay Sundar Prashanth.
Paes and Raja continue winning run
A week after lifting the title at the Knoxville Challenger, Leander Paes and Purav Raja continue their winning run. The two, who are the top seeds at the Champaign Challenger, needed just 51 minutes to thrash the local pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Alex Lawson, 6-3, 6-1 on their way to the semi-finals.
Paes and Raja are now on a six-match winning streak. The Knoxville win was their first triumph in eight tournaments.