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Poonacha, Saketh and Abhinav, Create Upsets At Bengaluru Open

Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/851839/episodes/2716261

Bengaluru, Feb 11: In a day of upsets, three Indian lads sent packing much fancied and higher ranked rivals at the Bengaluru Open at the KSLTA here on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Niki Poonacha defeated 16th seed Lucas Rosol to make it to the quarterfinals. He won with a scoreline of 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 against the Czech in a match that lasted 1 hour and 45 mins.

In other upsets of the day, runner-up at the last edition of the Bengaluru Open, Saketh Myneni, crushed sixth seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, while qualifier Abhinav Shanmugam prevailed over the fancied Daniel Masur of Germany 7-5, 6-3.

Poonacha, who stormed into the professional circuit at 18 at junior level, had a harrowing time to meet his training expenses. His father had to sell his property to sustain his training expenses after his pocket went dry in Spain.

At this point of time, Poonacha bumped into Rohan Bopanna about three years ago and since then was on a rise and was close to breaking the 500 barrier until an injury set him back.

“I am thrilled to have reached this stage of a Challenger event which was my dream since the last year. And having beaten a seeded player I am even more happy,” said Poonacha.

After a grueling opening round yesterday, Poonacha, although tired, pulled himself along and broke Rosol in the 10th game to take the first set.

The 34-year-old Rosol, who was once ranked 26th and having the reputation of having beaten the likes of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012, achieved breaks in the fifth and seventh games and served out for the set at 6-2.

An early break in the second game of the decider saw the match turn into Poonacha’s favour. “After I broke him, I was determined to just hold my serve and I am happy that I did,” said the lad who was born in Tamil Nadu and had won the Nationals last year. “I don’t even know whom am I playing in the next round but I hope to keep the rhythm going,” said the genial pro adding “at the moment, I am trying to improve my ranking and play on the Challenger Tour more often.”

Saketh, currently ranked 192nd got broken in the third game and was down 1-3 in the next. However he came back strongly to win the next five games on a trot with breaks in the 6th and 8th games to take the first set. Myneni who has been flirting with injuries during the last two years, broke the Russian in the third game to gain an advantage and broke again in the ninth to take the set and the match.

Results (Round-1)

Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) bt [Alt] Manish Sureshkumar (IND) 6-2, 6-3

[2] Stefano Travaglia (ITA) bt Filippo Baldi (ITA) 6-2, 6-1;

[Q] Abhinav Shanmugam (IND) bt Daniel Masur (GER) 7-5, 6-3;

Julian Ocleppo (ITA) bt [Q] Anirudh Chandrashekar (IND) 6-2, 6-1;

[Alt] Sebastian Fanselow (GER) bt Bogdan Bobrov (RUS) 6-2, 6-3

Round-2

Saketh Myneni (IND) bt [6] Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-3, 6-3;

[8] Sumit Nagal (IND) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-0, 6-4;

Mukund Sasikumar (IND) Vs. [13] Ilya Ivashka (BLR)

[3] Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt Vaclav Safranek (CZE) 6-4, 6-3

[11] Blaz Rola (SLO) bt Vladyslav Orlov (UKR) 7-5, 6-3;

[WC] Niki Poonacha (IND) bt [16] Lucas Rosol (CZE) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

[9] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Laurent Lokoli 6-3, 2-6, 6-1

Doubles (Round-1)

Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR)/Nikola Milojevic (SRB) bt Sriram Balaji (IND)/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND) 6-7(1), 7-5, 10-8

C. Hsieh (TPE) / D Molchanov (UKR) bt [WC] N Prashanth (IND) / Vishnu Vardhan (IND) 6-3, 7-6(6).

[4] Purav Raja (IND) / Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) bt [WC] SD Prajwal Dev (IND) / Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 6-2, 6-2.

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