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Rediff.com  » Sports » Chennai Open: Cilic begins well, Prakash enters main draw

Chennai Open: Cilic begins well, Prakash enters main draw

Last updated on: January 04, 2010 22:22 IST

Marin CilicMarin Cilic began his title defence at the Chennai Open in a comprehensive manner with a 6-2, 6-4 demolition of Igor Kunitysn. The Croat took a little over an hour to tame the out of form Russian. 

After the duo held their opening service games, Cilic broke Kunitsyn's serve in the third game and held his own to open a 3-1 lead.

He broke the Russian again in the fifth game to seal the set in his favour.

A break of Kunitsyn's serve in the first game of the second set was enough to ensure the eventual result.

"The important thing for me was to start well after the break," admitted Cilic after the match.

"The serve was working very good and the rest of the game just fell in place," he added.

Having booked his place in the second round, Cilic reiterated that he wasn't feeling any pressure as the defending champion.

"The game remains the same. You still need to win five matches to win the tournament. So, there is no pressure as such," he added.

In another match, fourth seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic took out two-time champion Carlos Moya 6-3, 7-6 (2).

Tipsy broke Moya early in the first set and didn't allow the latter an opportunity to come back thereafter. The Serb broke the Spaniard again in the fourth game of the second to open up a 3-1 lead.

But the Spaniard, a wild card entry, broke back in the eighth much to the delight of the crowd that rooted for him. It was four games apiece and thereafter it went on serve, setting up a tie-breaker.

Tipsarevic opened up an early lead in the breaker and held on to pocket the match. "I am happy with the game I executed today," Tipsarevic said. "I wouldn't say I was worried but it is not easy to start a season," he added.

The Spaniard, a champion here in 2004 and 2005, still remains the crowd favourite despite being well past his prime. But Tipsy had no complaints with the crowd.

"I think the crowd was fair," said the Serb. "I didn't expect them to be on my side with Moya playing, but they did cheer for me during the good points," he explained.

Tipsarevic goes on to meet the winner of the match between last year's finalist Somdev Devvarman and former Australian open finalist Rainer Schuettler.

No wonder the Serb wasn't too pleased with the draw.

"This part of the draw (the bottom half) is not easy," said Tipsarevic. "So it becomes even more important for me to execute the aggressive game I have been practicing in the off season."

Prakash in main draw, Yuki misses out

Earlier in the day, Prakash Amritraj beat German Lars Poerschke in straight sets in the third and final qualifying round to secure his place in the main draw.

The 26-year-old, a wild card entry into the main draw at Chennai since 2002 but forced to play the qualifying rounds this year. won 7-6 (5), 6-3.

With Prakash winning, India has now three representatives in the main draw -- with Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna having already been awarded wild cards.

However, all was not hunky dory for India as promising youngster Yuki Bhambri fell at the final qualifying hurdle.

Irish journeyman Louk Sorensen beat Bhambri 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 in just under two-and-half hours to book his berth in the main draw.

The 18-year-old Indian began on a disastrous note, dropping his first two service games to go down 0-4. Though he held serve in the fifth game, he went on to lose the set 6-2.

Both players match each other shot for shot in the second set but in the breaker it was Bhambri who won the points when it mattered.

Undaunted, the Irishman regained his stranglehold over the match and wore out a tired Bhambri to disappoint the few spectators at the Centre Court who had turned up to watch the match.

Bikash Mohapatra in Chennai