India No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran advances; Arjun Kadhe loses in singles first round.
Leander Paes marked his arrival at the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra with a thumping 6-2, 7-6(7-5) victory over compatriot Divij Sharan in the doubles opening round match at Mhalunge Balewadi stadium, in Pune, on Tuesday.
Playing alongside Australian partner Matthew Ebden, the eight-time doubles Grand Slam champion, who is playing his last tournament in India, showed his class during a clinical victory over defending champion and second seed Sharan, who was playing alongside New Zealand’s Artem Sitak.
Earlier, India No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran stamped his authority at home with a sensational straight sets victory over Yannick Maden in an opening round singles match.
The Indian star held his nerve throughout the match as both the sets went into tie-breakers before he wrapped up the hard-fought contest 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5) to begin his campaign on a winning note.
In the other singles opening round match local boy Arjun Kadhe suffered a straight-set 6-2 to Jiri Vesley.
Playing in front of his home crowd, Kadhe, who received wild card entry into the main draw, tried to stage comeback with a good fight in the second set but it was too late as the 26-year-old Czech player wrapped up the match convincingly.
India’s Rohan Bopanna and Sumit Nagal will be the key attraction on the third day of the tournament as they will begin their quest for the doubles title on Wednesday. Defending champion Bopanna will partner Kadhe. The Indian pair will take on the French pair of Benoit Paire and Antonie Hoang.
Nagal and his partner Egor Gerasimov of Belarus will face Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja.
Just a day after getting knocked out in the singles opening round, India’s rising star Nagal will be back in action in Pune as he was included in the doubles main draw following the withdrawal of Peter Gojowczyk due to injury.
The 22-year-old Nagal, who went down 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 to Serbian ace Viktor Troicki on Monday, and Khade will replace the German pair of Gojowczyk-Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in the main draw.
Australian star James Duckworth marked his arrival with a hard-fought 7-6(7-5), 6-4 win over Gojowczyk. Duckworth, who is making his maiden appearance at the South Asia’s only ATP Tour Tournament, which is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra, faced tough challenge in the first set which went into the tie-breaker. However, the sixth seeded Duckworth took charge of the second set and won it convincingly.
On Monday, Ramkumar Ramanathan showed great resilience against Italian opponent Salvatore Caruso before going down 6-3, 4-6, 5-7 in the singles. The India No. 3, who received wild card entry, put a solid performance to win the first set easily. However, he failed to retain the momentum in the next two sets which saw Caruso making a comeback to clinch the next two sets as well as the match.
Results (Singles): Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) bt Yannick Maden (GER) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); Jiri Vesley (CZE) bt Arjun Kadhe (IND) 6-2, 6-4; James Duckworth (AUS) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; Roberto Marcora (ITA) bt Lukas Rosol (CZE) 6-3, 6-2; Egor Gerasimov (BLR) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-2, 6-3; Ilya Ivashka (BLR) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles: Leander Paes-Matthew Ebden bt Divij Sharan-Artem Sitak 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).