Divij Sharan recorded his first ever ATP Tour level win when he, along with partner Ivo Karlovic, saved five match points to advance to the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships even as Prakash Amritraj crashed out of the singles event, in Newport.
Divij and Karlovic got the better of the Ukrainian pair of Illya Marchenko and Denys Molchanov 4-6, 7-6 (1), 11-9 in the opening round of the USD 455,775 grass court event.
Karlovic is playing his first tournament after recovering from viral meningitis.
In the singles, Prakash Amritraj suffered mauling at the hands of former World No 1 Lleyton Hewitt, losing his second round match 2-6, 1-6. The Australian broke Amritraj six times while saving seven of the eight chances he faced.
Divij and big-serving Karlovic had two break chances in the first two service games of their opponents but could not convert and lost both at deuce.
Divij was broken in the fifth game at deuce. Both teams went on to hold serve after that and the Ukrainians pocketed the set, riding on that break.
The Indo-Croatian pair again squandered a break chance in the 11th game of the second set, which was eventually decided via tie-breaker. Divij and Karlovic raced to a 6-0 lead before winning the tie break 7-1.
In the match tie-break, Divij and Karlovic were staring down the barrel, down 4-9, but the duo saved five match points and won seven points in a row to win 11-9.
They next play Adil Shamasdin of Canada and John-Patrick Smith of Australia the quarter-finals. The Aussie-Canadian pair shocked third seeds James Blake and Rajeev Ram of USA for a place in the last eight.
Photograph: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images