Bengaluru, Feb 6: Arjun Kadhe who entered as an alternate in the qualifying draw created the first ripple of the tournament when he upset sixth seed Johan Nikles of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 to take one step closer to gaining an entry into the main round of the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association courts here on Sunday. In a clash of two Indians, eighth seed Mukund Sasikumar overcame Adil Kalyanpur 6-2, 6-3 and became only the second out of nine Indians in fray to advance to the second round of qualifying.
Meanwhile Jiri Vesely, the highest ranked competitor in fray in the main draw, landed in the City from Pune in the evening and headed straight for practice. “It was unfortunate that I could not make it to Bengaluru the last time around as it was a very tiring and demanding week in Pune (2020),” said the Czech who, after winning the title in Pune, had cancelled his visit to Bengaluru. “I am really excited and looking forward to playing the Challengers this time. My game is coming good and I hope to put up a good show,” said Vesely, currently ranked 80th and had reached a career best ranking of 35 in 2015.
Pune-based Arjun was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set after having annexed the first at 6-4. In a battle of un-forced errors Arjun lost his serve and then broke his opponent’s serve to win the contest. “I think I served well today which put me into a good stead. I did not offer a breakpoint for him until the second set,” said the 28-year-old Arjun. “It was tough for both of us as the ball was flying and hence it is more of forced errors rather than unforced,” said Arjun.
Current U-18 National Champion and the promising Karan began on the right note matching stroke for stroke against his Japanese opponent, who was ranked more than 1250 places above him. After both the players were locked 4-4 in the first set, the 18-year-old went 5-4 up before breaking Rio’s serve to take the first set 6-4.
However, the second set saw Karan slip owing to a nagging back pain for which he even had to take a medical break after being 1-4 down and eventually lost 1-6. He did put up a fight in the decider until the sixth game but caved in, almost without a fight 3-6.
The tournament will be inaugurated by Mr. R Ashoka, the President of KSLTA and also the Revenue Minister, Govt. of Karnataka at 9.30 a.m on Monday. The second round of the qualifying rounds and five of the first round matches of the main draw will be held on Monday.
Entry is free for spectators throughout the week.
Gabriel Decamps (BRA) bt Sidharth Rawat (Ind) 6-2, 6-4;
Antoine Bellier (SUI) bt Elliot Benchetrit (MAR) 6-1, 6-2;
Steven Diez (CAN) bt WC-Suraj Prabodh (IND) 6-4, 6-1;
1-Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) bt Kai Wehnelt (GER) 6-4, 6-2;
Rio Noguchi (JPN) bt WC-Karan Singh 4-6, 6-1, 6-3;
3-Borna Gojo (CRO) bt Jaroslav Pospisil (CZE) 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4;
8-Mukund Sasikumar (IND) bt WC-Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 6-2, 6-3;
Alt-Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt 6-Johan Nikles (SUI) 6-4, 6-4;
5-Malek Jaziri (TUN) bt Alt-Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam (IND) 7-6 (3), 6-3;
Raul Brancaccio (ITA) bt Alt-Dominik Palan (CZE) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5;
Andrew Harris (AUS) bt WC-Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha 6-4, 6-4;
Alexander Erler (AUT) bt Manish Sureshkumar (IND) 6-2, 6-4.