Bengaluru, Feb 15: It was an exodus of fancied players in the first round of the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger with the biggest casualty being the defending champion and eighth seed Chun-hsin Tseng crashing out of the tournament. The man in form, Tseng who had won the Bengaluru Open 1 just a couple of days ago, went down tamely to Greece qualifier Markos Kalovelonis in straight sets 2-6, 2-6 in a match that lasted just 62 minutes.
“Today was one of the best matches of my life. His game suits me a little bit and my tactics worked,” said Kalovelonis after the match. “Since I most play in doubles and got a chance in the singles qualifiers here, there was no pressure. I just play to enjoy myself and that is what I did today,” quipped the tall player who has 20 ITF Doubles titles to his credit and is a part of the Greece Davis Cup and ATP Cup team.
“He was always attacking and I couldn’t get my rhythm. He served very well and attacked my second serves very well,” said the 20-year-old Tseng even as Kalovelonis broke his rival’s serve in the first and fifth game to completely dominate the first set. The second set saw both breaking each other’s serve in the first two games before the 27-year-old attacked the net often, not allowing Tseng to settle. “I had watched him last week and he likes long rallies and that is why I went for the attack,” said Kalovelonis who broke Tseng’s serve in the 5th and 7th games and served out to emerge victorious.
A total of five seeded players bit the dust in their opening encounters on Tuesday. While Swiss Antoine Bellier felled fourth seed Federico Gaio of Italy in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia won a long-fought battle against fifth seeded Czech Vit Kopriva 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. Seventh seed and local favourite Ramkumar Ramanathan flattered to deceive as he went down to unseeded Frenchman Mathias Bourgue 6-4, 3-6, 2-6. Runner-up last week Czech Borna Gojo survived a scare against qualifier Dominik Palan before prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The only consolation for the Indian camp was the entry of Sidharth Rawat into the last 16 after he went past Mukund Sasikumar 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile, Ramkumar India’s No. 1 player began with a bang earning a break in the opening game which set the tone for the rest of the set, which he eventually won 6-4. However, his luck ran out in the second set along with his as was his composure, which further decreased as the match progressed as his French rival broke his serve in the second game and went on to win the set 6-3 and kept the pressure up against the crumbling nerves of Ramkumar, whose best shot was an ace which came at the fag end of the third set but could not stop Bourgue from walking into the pre-quarterfinals.
Results Singles (Round of 32)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) bt 5-Vit Kopriva (CZE) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3; Mathias Bourgue (FRA) bt 7-Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Borna Gojo (CRO) bt Q-Dominik Palan (CZE) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Johan Nikles (SUI) bt Raul Brancaccio (ITA) 6-7 (1), 6-1, 7-5; Q-Antoine Bellier (SUI) bt 4-Federico Gaio (ITA) 6-4, 6-3; 3-Enzo Couacaud (FRA) bt Q-Nitin Kumar Sinha (IND) 6-1, 6-1; Alexandre Muller (FRA) bt Elliot Benchetrit (MAR) 7-5, 6-4; Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Q-Andrew Harris (AUS) 7-6 (7), 7-6 (9); WC-Sidharth Rawat (IND) bt Q-Mukund Sasikumar (IND) 6-4, 6-4; Q-Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) bt 8-Chun-hsin Tseng (TPE) 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles (Round of 16)
4-N Sriram Balaji (IND)/ Vishnu Vardhan (IND) bt WC-Suraj Prabodh (IND)/Rishi Reddy (IND) 6-4, 6-2; Vladyslav Orlov (UKR)/Kai Wehnelt (GER) bt Vit Kopriva (CZE)/Jaroslav Pospisil (CZE) 7-5, 6-4; 2-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND)/Purav Raja (IND) bt Thomas Fancutt (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-3, 7-5.