Saketh Myneni at the KSLTA Courts.
Picture Credits – Deepthi Indukuri(Bengaluru Open)
On an overcast day at the KSLTA courts in Cubbon Park in Bengaluru, the start could not have been more dull, with Mukund having to withdraw from his match in the first game itself, against mentor figure Prajnesh, owing to a back issue.
Despite the early dampener, the sizeable crowd, including a pack of school children, that had gathered at the KSLTA, were in for a “Saki Masterclass”. The high altitude conditions perfectly suited the tall lad from Vizag, who served, and occasionally volleyed, his way to a 6-4 6-4 win against defending champion Sumit Nagal.
Interestingly, Saketh won the first 9 points of the match, with Sumit appearing slightly uncomforted by the crispness of Saketh’s strokes, which were finding the correct corners of the court. Although Sumit found his groove swiftly, the one break advantage was enough for Saketh to take home the first set at 6-4.
The 2nd set was much more competitive, with Sumit trying to engage Saketh in longer rallies. In fact, Sumit rallied his way to get the match back on level terms, after being a break down, twice, in the 2nd set. But a string of untimely double faults proved to be his undoing. Saketh, with his monstrous serve, and a deadly moustache to go with it, was not one to be broken thrice in a row. He promptly served the match out to take home a 6-4 6-4 win.
“I know that he (Sumit) is an aggressive player. I know him off the court as well. And considering the conditions, I was serving well for the first set and half and then things changed a bit. However, I was very much in control,” said Saketh. “It is unfortunate that two Indians played in the same match. I hate this when this happens as we should be playing against the world and not each other,” said Saketh. “I am not thinking of any plans for the future. I would go week by week and this week is priority for me as I need to gauge my fitness levels before I decide on playing.”
Commenting on the depth of talent in Indian tennis, Saketh said: “It is great that four Indians had reached the quarterfinal stage of the one of the biggest ATP Challengers. We have the backing of home crowd and a chance to earn so many points. We should have more of these.”
Singles Quarterfinals –
(4) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) def. (Q)Sasi Kumar Mukund (IND) 0-0 40-0(retd.)
(WC)Saketh Myneni (IND) def. (WC)Sumit Nagal (IND) 6-4 6-4
(2) Purav Raja (IND) / Antonio Sancic (CRO) def. Arjun Kadhe (IND) / Saketh Myneni (IND) 3-6 6-2,10-8
Tomorrow’s matches – From 4 PM
Men’s Singles Semifinals
(4)Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) Vs. Brayden Schnur (CAN)
(WC) Saketh Myneni (IND) Vs. Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Men’s Doubles Finals
Max Purcell (AUS) / Luke Seville (AUS) Vs. (2)Purav Raja (IND) / Antonio Sancic (CRO)