Bengaluru Open: Khade creates a flutter, advances to the second round of qualifiers

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Arjun Kadhe, who entered as an alternate in the qualifying draw, caused a flutter by upsetting 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.

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 the fray to advance to the second round of qualifying at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association courts here on Sunday.

Pune-based Khade was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set after having annexed the first at 6-4. In a battle of unforced errors, he lost his serve and then broke his opponent’s serve to win the match.

“I think I served well today which put me into 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 Khade.

The current U-18 National Champion and the promising Karan Singh began on the right note matching stroke for stroke against his Japanese opponent Rio Noguchi, 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 Noguchi’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.

Meanwhile, Jiri Vesely, the highest-ranked competitor in the 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),” the Czech who, after winning the title in Pune, had cancelled his visit to Bengaluru, was quoted as saying by the organisers in a release.

“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.

Results:

Qualifying Round-1:

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.

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