Australian Open 2016: Myneni beats Ramanathan; Somdev Devvarman out of qualifying
World No. 168 Saketh Myneni was left the last Indian standing as the qualifying rounds got under way at the Australian Open in Melbourne Park on Wednesday. In an all-Indian clash, Myneni prevailed over the Chennai Open quarter-finalist Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6-4, 6-1.
Myneni will next face the 261st ranked Italian Lorenzo Giustino on Friday for a place in the final round of qualifying at the year’s first Grand Slam.
In another match, the Australian Open singles hopes of former No. 1 Somdev Devvarman were dashed as he bowed out 6-2, 1-6, 4-6 to the 164th-ranked Jurgen Zopp of Estonia.
On a day when play was suspended because of sweltering heat in Melbourne, Myneni and Ramkumar were locked at 4-4 in a highly competitive first set. But the Asian Games gold medallist Myneni secured a break in the ninth game which handed over the opening set to the 28-year-old.
The second set was a one-way traffic as 21-year-old Ramkumar failed to do any damage to Myneni’s game after the first set setback. Myneni broke the World No. 206 thrice and wrapped up the match in 1 hour and 6 minutes.
Narrow loss for Somdev
173rd-ranked Somdev, meanwhile, began his match well, breaking his Estonian opponent twice. The joy did not last long as Zopp soon came alive and made in-roads into the Indian’s serve twice.
In the decider, Somdev fought hard till 3-3 but had to bow down to the relentless pressure of the Estonian, conceding a decisive break in the seventh game. Zopp needed no more favour after that and calmly served out the win after 1 hour and 45 minutes.