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Australian Open 2016: Tough loss for Saketh Myneni in final round of qualifying

834   //    16 Jan 2016, 16:11 IST
Saketh Myneni 2016
India’s #2-ranked singles player is out of the Australian Open after putting up a big fight in the earlier rounds

World No. 168 Saketh Myneni fought admirably well in the final round of Australian Open qualifying only to be narrowly denied a main draw berth at the season’s first Grand Slam in Melbourne Park on Saturday. The Indian Davis Cupper went down 6-3, 4-6, 6-8 to the 22nd seed Mirza Basic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

The big-serving Saketh started off brilliantly, breaking his higher-ranked opponent for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then calmly served out the set at 6-3.

The 137th ranked Basic, however, soon rebounded in the second set. After saving a break point in the first game, he took control of the proceedings and broke the Indian in the ninth game. That was all he needed to pocket the second set by a score of 6-4.

The third set was dramatic as Basic raced away to a 3-0 advantage before Myneni could even get on the board. The Bosnian player inched ahead 5-2 but failed to serve out the match which allowed Saketh to come back.

The Indian levelled things at 5-5 and then held on for 6-6. Unfortunately, Basic struck again in the 13th game and subsequently grabbed his place in the main draw.

The other Indians in the qualifying – Somdev Devvarman and Ramkumar Ramanathan – had lost in the first round on Wednesday.

With none of the Indians managing to advance to the main draw from the qualifiers, the 95th ranked Yuki Bhambri remains the only Indian representation in men’s singles. The former junior Australian Open champion faces World No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the first round on Monday.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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