Saketh stars with upset joins Yuki in quarters; gallant N Balaji exits at KPIT -MSLTA ATP Challenger 2017
Pune, Nov 15: Wildcard Saketh Myneni registered the first upset, N Sriram Balaji fell tantalisingly short of logging one himself and Yuki Bhambri tayed on track on a day of mixed fortunes in the $50000 + Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger, at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Complex courts, here on Wednesday.
Saketh held centre stage by showing No. 8 seed Serbian Pedja Krstin the door with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 win to enter the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. In contrast, N. Balaji worked hard to a position of strength before going down to the experienced Kazakh Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-5, 4-6, 5-7.
In a evening encounter, India’s top bet Yuki Bhambri added cheer with an easy win over unseeded Ante Pavic (Croatia) 6-4, 7-6 to become the second player to enter the last 8.
Centre court provided a treat in the form Saketh who clinically tamed his younger opponent. In the first set, Saketh began his quest by saving two break points to hold serve and then broke the the Croat to lead 2-0. The 22-year old Pedja however pushed ahead aided by breaks in the 3rd and 5th to move ahead. Thereafter, both held serve which put Saketh in arrears.
The second set had Saketh fired up after both held serve and level 2-2. Winning four games in a row Saketh pushed the match into the third.
The 30-year-old Indian showed class in the decider set; winning without conceding a game. The 6’4” hurled in five aces (18 in total) in the set, gained from a host of double faults conceded by Croat and walked out winner.
On the adjacent, Court 1, Balaji was locked in a battle royale with Kazakh Aleksandr. Sharing a set each, the third was a treat. Up 5-3, Balaji let go of the advantage allowing hi opponent to level 5-5.
On serve in the 11th game, Balaji saved eight break points to frustrate the Kazak bid to sign off. However, a wide backhand return and a double fault, his seventh in the match, put paid to his heroic effort leaving down Indian 5-6.
Balaji thereafter faced the Khazak who did not let go. Down 0-30, Balaji had an ace wiz by and then after engaging in a long rally he ended up netting his return to end a gallant fight.
The day also witnessed another upset when Great Britian’s Jay Clarke (packed off seventh seeded Evan King (USA) 6-3, 6-4, while No. 5 Serb Nikola Milojevic ended the challenge of qualifier Hugo Grenier (France) 7-5, 6-3
Following are the results: Singles: Second Round
[WC] Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Pedja Krstin (SRB)  4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Nikola Milojevic (SRB)  bt [Q] Hugo Grenier (FRA) 7-5, 6-3
Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Evan King (USA)  6-3, 6-4
Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP)  bt Sumit Nagal (IND)- 6-3, 6-4
Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)  bt N.Sriram Balaji (IND) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
Yuki Bhambri (IND)  bt Ante Pavic (CRO) 6-4, 7-6
Doubles: Main Draw: First Round
Scott Clayton (GBR)/ Jonny O'Mara (GBR)  bt Timur Khabibulin (KAZ)/ Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) 6-3, 4-6, 10-8
Pedro Martinez (ESP)/Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) bt Geoffrey Blancaneaux (FRA)/Jay Clarke (GBR)6-7, 6-3, 10-8
Ivan Sabanov (CRO)/ Matej Sabanov (CRO) bt Arjun Kadhe(IND)/ N Vijay Sundar Prashanth (IND) 6-3, 7-5
Scott Clayton (GBR)/ Jonny O'Mara (GBR)  bt Ivan Sabanov (CRO)/ Matej Sabanov (CRO) 6-2, 6-4