Defending champion Rohan Bopanna went down fighting in the thrilling doubles opening round game at the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra, in Pune, on Wednesday.
Playing alongside local boy Arjun Kadhe, the ace Indian player Bopanna dominated the game initially. However, after winning the first set convincingly, the Indian duo couldn’t manage to continue the momentum further in the games against French pair of Benoit Paire and Antoine Hoang as they lost the match 3-6, 7-5, 10-7.
Earlier, another Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja made their way into the doubles quarter-finals of the third edition of Tata Open with hard-fought yet convincing 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 victory against compatriot Sumit Nagal and his Partner Egor Gerasimov of Belarus at Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium.
The Indian rising star Nagal, who was included into doubles main draw following withdrawal of German pair Peter Gojowczyk-Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, could not capitalise on the opportunity. After winning the first in the tie-breaker Ramanathan-Raja came strongly into the next set which saw them dominating and wrapping it up 6-3 easily as well as the match in straight sets. The duo will now face stiff challenge of India's Leander Paes on Thursday.
Eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion Paes, playing alongside Australian Matthew Ebden beat compatriot Divij Sharan and his partner Artem Sitak 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in the doubles opening round match on Tuesday.
Earlier in the singles round-of-32, Sasikumar Mukund dished out a gritty performance before going down against the Japanese Taro Daniel.
The 23-year-old Indian youngster, who was handed a wild-card entry during his third appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra, made strong comeback into the second set before losing the first 6-2. However, despite putting a solid performance in the second set that saw Daniel struggling, Mukund went onto lose 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) it in the thrilling tie-breaker.
"Making a main draw debut in Pune is a very special for me. Playing here has given me experience of playing in front of the crowd. I got broken too early in the sets. I had a chance with five all. It’s not because of that one break point why I am sitting here. It was because of all the points I played," said Mukund, who played in the qualifying round in the last two editions of India’s premier ATP 250 event, which is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, in the doubles round-of-16 match, Robin Haase of Netherlands and Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt played to their had to work hard in their opening round match against Dutch pair of Sander Arends and David Pel which went into tie-breaker. However, top-seeded pair of Haase-Lindstedt somehow managed to comeback in the decider and completed 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 10-8 win.
Taro Daniel bt Sasikumar Mukund (IND) 6-2, 7-6 (9-7); Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1; Jiri Vesley (CZE) bt Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Robin Haase (NED)-Robert Lindstedt (SWE) 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 10-8; Jonathan Erlich (ISR)-Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) bt James Duckworth (AUS)-Matt Reid (AUS) 4-6, 6-3, 10-8; Ramkumar Ramanathan (INDI)-Purav Raja (IND) bt Sumit Nagal (IND)-Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Romain Arneodo (MON)-Andre Begemann (GER) bt Nicholas Monroe (USA)-Jackson Withrow (USA) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 10-8; Christopher Rungkat (INA)-Andre Goransson (SWE) bt Denys Molchanov (UKR)-Hsieh Cheng-peng (TPE) 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. Antoine Hoang (FRA)-Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Rohan Bopanna (IND)-Arjun Kadhe (IND) 3-6, 7-5, 10-7.