Vukic, Purcell advance to quarterfinals; Prajwal/Niki in doubles quarterfinals at Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger

Bengaluru, Feb 16: The two seeds in action today – top seed Aleksandar Vukic and sixth seed Max Purcell both from Australia registered contrasting wins to advance to the quarterfinals of the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger at the KSLTA Courts here on Wednesday. While Vukic brushed aside the challenge of Great Britain’s Jay Clarke in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, Purcell the Australian Open doubles finalist struggled past his compatriot Marc Polmans with a 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-2 victory to join Vukic in the last eight.

Indian wild card entrants SD Prajwal Dev and Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha brought cheers to the Indian camp when they overcame the better-ranked Canadian-Japanese combination of Steven Diez and Rio Noguchi to post a 6-2, 6-4 enroute to the quarterfinals of the doubles event. Arjun Khade, who will take on third seed Frenchman Enzo Couacaud in the singles pre-quarterfinal match on Thursday, combined with Austrian Alexander Erler to breeze past the duo of Bogdan Bobrov (Russia) and Dominik Palan (Czech Republic) with a 6-0, 6-3 victory. Also advancing to the quarterfinals was the all Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan, who had won the doubles title at the Bengaluru Open 1 last week.

Purcell who had played another rival from Down Under – Jason Kubler in the first round did face some strong competition from Polmans. Both of them broke each other’s serves in the third and fourth games with Polmans breaking once again in the seventh game to lead 4-2. Purcell came back strongly, winning the next four games to lead 6-5 and was serving for the set when his opponent broke his serve and pushed the set into tie-breaker, which he won at 7.

The second set saw Polmans getting an upper hand by galloping to a 3-0 lead with breaks in the first and third, but his country-mate returned the favour in the next three games and held the 7th game to gain a 4-3 lead. However, the 24-year-old Polmans, took advantage of Purcell’s mistakes and won the next three games to bag the set 6-4.

The decider also proved to be a humdinger with both players going hammer and tongs. Purcell was up 3-0 when his opponent came back to win two games on the trot but the better ranked player showed his mettle when it mattered to close out the match winning three consecutive games.

Meanwhile Vukic completely dominated the proceedings against his British opponent and raced to a 5-1 lead with breaks in the 4th and 6th game. The 25-year-old Vukic’s strong down-the-line shots almost shocked Clarke and by the time he could find an answer to his rival’s attack, he had already lost the first set. He did put up a little resistance in the second set, especially in the fourth game where he broke the favourite’s serve. However, he could not sustain the form as he lost serves in the 7th and 9th and succumbed easily in exactly an hour.

Results Singles (Round of 16)

6-Max Purcell (AUS) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-2; Mathias Bourgue (FRA) bt Steven Diaz (CAN) 6-3, 6-4; Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) bt Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-4, 6-1; 1-Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) bt. Jay Clarke (GBR) 6-1, 6-3.

Arjun Kadhe/Alexander Erler
Anirudh Chandrasekar/N Vijay Sundar Prashanth
Niki Poonacha/SD Prajwal Dev
Yuki Bhambri/Divij Sharan
Ramkumar Ramanathan/Saketh Myneni

Doubles (Round of 16)

1-Alexander Erler (AUT)/Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt Alt-Bogdan Bobrov (RUS(/Dominik Palan (CZE) 6-0, 6-3; Enzo Couacaud (FRA)/Andrew Harris (AUS) bt Raul Brancaccio (ITA)/Johan Nikles (SUI) 6-4, 6-2; Marcos Kalovelonis(GRE)/Toshihide Matsui (JPN) bt PR-Anirudh Chandrasekar (IND)/N Vijay Sundar Prashanth (IND) 7-5, 7-6 (3); WC-SD Prajwal Dev (IND)/Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha (IND) bt Steven Diez (CAN)/Rio Noguchi (JPN) 6-2, 6-4; 3-Saketh Myneni (IND)/Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) bt Yuki Bhambri (IND)/Divij Sharan (IND) 6-1, 7-5.

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