Bengaluru Open 2: Kadhe-Erler lift doubles title; Dimitar stuns Enzo, to meet Vukic in singles final

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India’s Arjun Khade joined hands with Austrian Alexander Erler to win the doubles title in the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger here on Saturday.

It was a big treat for local tennis buffs, who had turned out in good number at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, to watch an Indian player winning the title.

The top-seeded pair defeated the third-seeded Indian duo and defending champions Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-7 in the final.

Meanwhile, in the singles semi-finals, top seed Aleksandar Vukic halted the run of last week’s finalist Borna Gojo of Croatia with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory. In the title clash, the Australian will meet Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov, who scripted an epic comeback victory against third-seeded Frenchman Enzo Couacaud, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Couacaud seemed to be in better control of the situation than his opponent when he earned two breaks in the first and third games to go 3-0 up before his serve was broken. The opponents broke each other in the next two games before Kuzmanov held his serve and earned a break in the next game to restore parity at four. However, he lost his serve again while Couacaud held his to win the first set.

Couacaud all but had sealed the match while leading 5-3 in the second set. Kuzmanov not only saved two match points but came back into the match roaring by winning four games on a trot, including breaks in the 10th where Couacaud double-faulted twice and the 12th game.

Couacaud’s trouble with serve was clearly visible during the end of the second set and continued in the decider as he made two more double faults in the fourth game as Kuzmanov took a decisive 4-1 lead after holding his serve in the next. Couacaud won the next two games to reduce the margin. However, Kuzmanov played some exquisite low angled shots that had the crowd in roars and broke Couacaud’s serve in the eighth game before serving out for a place in the final.

Earlier, in the first semi-final encounter, Vukic looked in top form as did Gojo as the rivals kept up a fast-paced game. The only thing that separated them was the consistency in the serves, which Vukic did with aplomb while dishing out 11 aces without a single double fault.

After both had held their serves, Vukic came close to breaking Gojo’s serve in the fifth game when he was up 40-15, thanks to two doubles faults by Gojo, who committed a total of eight in the match. Without any break by either of the players, the set went into a tie-breaker, where Gojo succumbed 5-7 even after holding a 5-3 lead. In the second set, a break in the fourth game was all Vukic needed to eventually close out the set and match.

Results:

Singles (semis): 1-Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) bt Borna Gojo (CRO) 7-6 (5), 6-3; Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) bt 3-Enzo Couacaud (FRA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Doubles (final): 1-Alexander Erler (AUT)/Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt 3-Saketh Myneni (IND)/Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3, 6-7 (4), 10-7.

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