October 26, 2016 8:23:04 pm
Third seed Saketh Myneni battled through shoulder pain to set up a quarterfinal clash against Prajnesh Gunneswaran as they are the only two Indians left in the singles event of the KPTI-MSLTA Challenger.
Myneni, playing his last tournament of the season, overcame a troublesome right shoulder to beat young Sidharth Rawat 6-0 2-6 6-1 while eighth seed Prajnesh pipped compatriot Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-4 6-2 in their second round matches.
Falling by the way side were Davis Cuppers Ramkumar Ramanathan and young Sumit Nagal, who squandered three match points in a dog-fight with fourth seed Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras to lose 7-6 (2) 6-7(6) 4-6 in a marathon second round match that lasted three hours and 15 minutes.
Fifth seed Ramkumar was erratic and inconsistent in his match against Frenchman Sadio Doumbia and suffered a tame 2-6 5-7 defeat. Doumbia approached the net several times winning a lot of points with his serve and volley. He never let Ramkumar pass him, dictating the play completely.
Myneni was visibly in pain his match against Rawat as he struggled to play his game.
“I am done for the season. This is my last tournament and after this, I will train. I am having fun on courts. The shoulder is getting better. Two weeks before, I was not even able to lift it. I have been playing like this from US Open was there in the US Open,” Myneni said adding that “it’s unfortunate that he has to play an Indian in the quarterfinals”.
The match between 19-year-old Nagal and Adrian was littered with several confrontations with chair umpire Ahmed Abdel-Azim from Egypt.
The Spanirad even once refused to continue playing even as the leaves that fell on the court from a tree were removed from the playing arena. He had slipped after stepping on one of the leaves.
He insisted that the leaves be removed completely while Ahmed said play could continue since the playing arena was clean. ATP Supervisor Carmelo Di Dio had to be called.
Nagal also confronted Ahmed on one of the calls, which he claimed was a wrong one. The 19-year-old had three match points in the second set tie-break as he raced to 6-3 after being down 0-3 but could convert none and eventually lost the match in the next set.
However, the young Nagal showed stomach for fight and legs to last in baseline slugfest as the game has evolved gradually. He returned almost everything and with time is expected to get better only.
National champion Vishnu Vardhan also bowed out with 4-6 4-6 defeat against Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Popko.
Elsewhere, top seed Russian Evgeny Donskoy beat local wild card Dhruv Sunish 6-3 6-2 and Serbian sixth seed Nikola Melojevic overcame a fighting Frenchman Fabien Reboul 6-1 7-6(3).
Korean second seed Duckhee Lee took the last quarterfinal spot with a 7-6(3) 6-3 win over Swiss qualifier Luca Margaroli.
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