India’s Saketh Myneni and Sasikumar Mukund kick-started their campaign at the 2022 Tata Open Maharashtra with a resounding 6-3, 6-4 win over compatriots Divij Sharan and Yuki Bhambri in the doubles opening round match at the Balewadi Stadium here on Wednesday.
Myneni and Sasikumar were awarded a main draw entry as an alternative pair after the pair of Denis Novak and Joao Sousa pulled out with the former suffering a thigh injury. The South Asia’s only ATP-250 event, is being organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association and will be played till February 6.
Teaming up for the first time, Myneni and Sasikumar pair looked in great touch as they pocketed the first set quite comfortably.
However, Divij and Bhambri, who had registered a semi-final finish during their maiden appearance at the tournament in 2018, regrouped again quickly in the second set to take the early lead, but Myneni and Sasikumar did not let the momentum slip by securing successive points which put them 5-4 ahead in the second set and went on to bag the match comfortably in straight sets.
In another doubles opening round match played earlier in the day, Jiri Vesely and Alexander Erler defeated French duo of Hugo Grenier and Quentin Halys 7-6 (12-10), 6-4.
Meanwhile, in the singles second-round match, Portuguese star Sousa pulled of an upset when he came from one-set down to record a stunning win against third-seed Gianluca Mager 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6-4) to enter the quarter-finals at India’s one of the oldest sporting event.
Regarded as the best Portuguese tennis player of all time, former World No. 28 Sousa looked solid as he recomposed himself, winning second set comfortably and then knocking out the World No. 67 Italian in the final set tie-breaker.
World No. 140 Aleksandar Vukic also made the higher ranked Italian rising star Lorenzo Musetti work hard for the victory, taking the contest into the third set before the World No. 66 Musetti took charge of the game to complete a 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Later, three more Indian pairs will play their opening round match at the tournament, which is being owned by IMG and operated by RISE Worldwide in India.
Second-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan will begin their challenge against American duo of Jammie Cerretani and Nicholas Monroe while wildcard entrant local boy Arjun Kadhe, teaming up with Purav Raja, will face N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan, who made into the main draw as an alternative pair, in an all-Indian round-of-16 match.
On Thursday, Bhambri will look to secure a berth in the singles quarter-finals as he is set to take on eight-seed Stefano Travaglia in the second-round match. The star Indian player, Bhambri had a sensational start to his campaign as he defeated Josef Kovalik in an impressive come-from-behind win in the opening round on Monday.
World No. 15 Russian tennis star Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely, who received byes in the opening round, will also begin their challenge.