Pune, Nov 16: Wild card Saketh Myneni grabbed eyeballs with a giant-killing act to knock out top seeded Blaz Kavcic to advance into the semifinals of in the $50000 + Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger, at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Complex courts, here on Thursday.
In an encounter fought till the end, Saketh, placed 805 places below the Slovenian, ranked 102 on the Tour won 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 in an encounter that tipped the two hour mark.
Making it two-in-a-row in the last four was No. 3 Yuki Bhambri who breezed past unseeded Great Britian’s Jay Clarke 6-4, 6-0 in a relatively easy Centre Court match-up.
Saketh’s win translated into a lot. It was the 30-year-old’s first Challenger Tour semi in 2017 and incidentally was a first at Pune. Similarly, for Saketh this was the second instance that he shocked a top-seed here in the city. Back in 2014, he pushed aside Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Khaszakstan) 6-3, 6-4 in 2014 to reach the semis.
London Olympian Blaz thus became the third top-seed in three years to be felled early. While Saketh accounted for two, it was Sadio Doumbia (France) who put out Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) in 2014.
Playing the first match of the day, Saketh had no easy task and led 5-3. On serve in the ninth, Saketh had a couple of returns go long and wide apart from a down the line winners by Blaz go against him and cost him game. Blaz held the next (5-5).
Saketh in the 11th game failed to hold his serve giving Blaz a 5-6 advantage.
Needing to break to have a chance, Saketh’s moment came when at 30-30 a casual return by Blaz into the net helped to get to break-point. Saketh seeking the opportunity on the next point pushed a deep return that Blaz failed to return to level 6-6. first set.
In the tie breaker, Saketh trailed 6-4, made it 6-5 and turned it around 7-5.
The second set was a repeat of the first leading into a tie-breaker which Saketh did well to complete in his favour.
SEMIS LINE UP
Saket Myneni (IND) v 4-Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) or 5-Nikola Milojević (SRB)
3-Yuki Bhambri (IND) v 2-A. Menéndez-Maceiras (ESP)
Following are the results: Singles: Quarterfinal Round
[WC] Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Blaz Kavcic (SLO)  7-6(7-5), 7-6(7-5)
Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP)  bt Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)  7-5, 4-1
Yuki Bhambri (IND)  bt Jay Clarke (GBR) 6-4, 6-0
Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND)  bt Nikola Milojevic (SRB)  6-1,7-5
Tomislav Brkic (BIH)/ Ante Pavic (CRO) bt Evan King (USA)/Lucas Miedler (AUT) 6-4, 6-2
Pedro Martinez (ESP)/Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) bt Brydan Klein(GBR)/Marc Polmans(2)(AUS) 6-2, 6-0