The Indian pair of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja had to settle for the second best position after going down in a tight final at the Play In Challenger in Lille, France on Saturday. Being the fourth seeds, the Indians were the favourites in the summit clash against the unseeded French-German combine of Hugo Nys and Tim Puetz.
But the underdogs proved to be too strong towards the end of the match tie-break as they eked out a 7-6(3), 1-6, 10-7 win in 1 hour 28 minutes.
The Indians’ overall percentage on serve was pretty good. They won 72% of their first serve points and 60% of their second serve points.
Nedunchezhiyan and Raja put up a determined show while facing break points. Out of the six that they faced, they saved as many as five. They also had 44% success on break point conversion, making in-roads into their opponents’ serve four times.
After losing the opening set in the tie-break, the Indians made a fantastic comeback to break their opponents thrice and set up a deciding tie-break. However, Nys and Puetz managed to hold their nerves under pressure to emerge the winners.
Nedunchezhiyan was looking for 2nd title of 2018
The 111th ranked Nedunchezhiyan was looking to win his second ATP Challenger title of the year. He had earlier partnered Christopher Rungkat to the Dallas Challenger triumph last month. As for the World No. 63 Purav Raja, he was aiming for his first trophy of the season.
This is a fairly new partnership as the only other event that they have played together so far in 2018 was the Oracle Challenger, where they reached the quarter-finals.
At Lille this week, they had to grind it out in the first round on their way to a three-set comeback win over Sander Arends and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn. The semi-final was the only match where they did not drop a set in their 7-6(2), 6-4 win over the British pair of Luke Bambridge and Joe Salisbury.Published 24 Mar 2018, 22:30 IST