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Pranjala, Karman convert tenth match point to pin elusive win in WTA Mumbai Open


Karman Kaur Thandi and Prajnala Yadlapalli combined smartly, and stayed strong in the climax, to get the first win for India, in the L&T $125,000 WTA Mumbai Open at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here on Tuesday.

In a dramatic thriller, featuring all young players, aged 19 or less, Karman Kaur and Pranjala converted their tenth matchpoint for a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Naiktha Bains of Australia and Fanny Stollar of Hungary in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Karman was strong from the back court and Pranjala was rock solid at the net, in scripting a memorable victory.
While Pranjala had failed to win a game against Ana Bogdan of Hungary in the qualifying event, Karman had lost her first round in the main draw, as she did not bring out her best game.

There was a good possibility of a singles win as well this day, but Rutuja Bhosale failed to capitalise on a fine chance and bowed out to qualifier Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel in the first round.

The former Asian junior champiion, the 21-year-old Rutuja had won a round in the same event as a 16-year-old in Pune, in 2012. After winning a three-setter against Korean Lee So-Ra, Rutuja had been beaten by the eventual champion Elina Svitolina, who is No.6 in the world today.

Rutuja was perhaps in great hurry to show case her improvement and strong game, gained with diligent training in the US apart from stints with coach Hemant Bendrey.
Her injudicious approach cost her the match, as the wiry and athletic Rutuja was unable to play a consistently good level of tennis.

A few loose points and anxious swings saw Rutuja trying to catch up all the time, right from the start, even though she broke her opponent three times in the match.

In trying to hit her way out of trouble, Rutuja only gave a good rhythm for Deniz who was accustomed to the centre court, having played both her qualifying matches on it.
There was some excitement, as Rutuja fought back from 1-5 in the second set, but it was too little too late in the match.

Khazaniuk had trouble with the chair umpire and referee, as she sought on-court coaching but had not followed the procedure of signing a specific form. She was annoyed but channelised her anger to play a better quality game.

Earlier, in a lively opening match of the day, Amandine Hesse of France, bounced back from a sedate start when she trailed 3-5, to outwit fourth seed Arina Rodionova of Australia in two intense sets.

Qualifier and second seed, Ana Bogdan of Romania looked increasingly venemous in outplaying Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico for the loss of two games. Ana has dropped a mere three games in all so far in winning three matches.

Prarthana Thombare, who has been progressing steadily in doubles, after the Asian Games bronze in Incheon and the Olympics experience in Rio with Sania Mirza, could not give a good account of her game in partnership with Valentyna Ivakhnenko of Russia.

The results:

Singles (first round): Lu Jia-Jing (Chn) bt Dalma Galfi (Hun) 6-2, 6-2; Amandine Hesse (Fra) bt Arina Rodionova (Aus) 7-6(2), 6-3; Deniz Khazaniuk (Isr) bt Rutuja Bhosale 6-4, 6-3; Ana Bogdan (Rou) bt Victoria Rodriguez (Mex) 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) & Veronika Kudermetova (Rus) bt Riya Bhatia & Natasha Palha 6-1, 6-2; Junri Namigata (Jpn) & Peangtarn Plipuech (Tha) bt Valentyna Ivakhnenko (Rus) & Sabina Sharipova (Uzb) 6-1, 6-4; Julia Glushko (Isr) & Priscilla Hon (Aus) bt Hiroko Kuwata (Jpn) & Prarthana Thombare 6-2, 6-3; Karman Kaur Thandi & Pranjala Yadlapalli bt Naiktha Bains (Aus) & Fanny Stollar (Hun) 6-3, 7-5; Dalila Jakupovic (Slo) & Irina Khromacheva (Rus) bt Ksenia Palkina (Kgz) & Zhang Ling (Hkg) 6-2, 6-0.


Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal progress in $100K Bengaluru Open Challenger

Gritty left-hander Prajnesh Gunneswaran notched up another impressive win as he beat sixth seed Evan King of the US 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the $100,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Bengaluru on Monday.

It was the second win in three meetings for the 28-year-old Prajnesh who had lost to the American in the Pune Challenger last week.

Sumit Nagal broke little sweat in beating qualifier Vijay Sundar Prashanth, who switches off from competition at times, and loses tamely. It was a similar story against Sumit Nagal in the final of the Asian Indoor Games earlier this season!

It was a good day for Prajnesh, as he made the doubles quarterfinals with Ramkumar Ramanathan. The duo will challenge thrid seeds Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan who outclassed a Spanish team for the loss of three games.
The Sood brothers, Chandril and Lakshit, were beaten by the second seeds Brydan Klein and Marc Polmans.

The results:

Singles (first round): Sumit Nagal bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-2, 6-0; Brydan Klein (GBR) bt Pedja Krstin (Srb) 6-4, 1-0 (retired); Marc Polmans (Aus) be Geoffrey Blancaneaux (Fra) 7-6(2), 6-3; Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Evan King (US) 6-4, 6-4; Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Sidharth Rawat 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Mario Vilella Martinez & Bernabe Zapata Miralles (Esp) 6-0, 6-3; Prajnesh Gunneswaran & Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Suraj Prabodh & Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-2, 6-2; Tomislav Brkic (BIH) & Ante Pavic (Cro) bt Pedro Martinez & Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) 6-3, 6-2; Ivan Sabanov & Matej Sabanov (Cro) bt Kunal Anand & Anvit Bendre 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-7; Brydan Klein (GBR) & Marc Polmans (Aus) 6-2, 7-5.


Yuki Bhambri aims a strong finish; Sidharth Rawat, Vijay Sundar Prashanth qualify


Champion Yuki Bhambri will open against compatriot Sriram Balaji in the $100,000 Bengaluru Open Challenger tennis tournament.

The 25-year-old Yuki, who had won the title on Saturday in Pune, will aim like other top players to push his ranking higher so that he can get an entry into the Australian Open.

That may be looking a bit far, especially for someone like Yuki who has been cautious with his schedule after repeated injury breakdowns had robbed him of many months of tennis, in recent years.

The former world No.1 junior, seeded third here, Yuki finds himself in the second quarter with fellow Davis Cupper Prajnesh Gunneswaran and sixth seed Evan King.

The finalist last week and the fifth seed here, Ramkumar Ramanathan figures in the third quarter and will start against Hugo Grenier of France.

Sidharth Rawat qualified into the main draw along with Vijay Sundar Prashanth to strengthen the Indian presence. He will play Jay Clarke of Britain, with the winner possibly meeting Ramkumar.

National championship runner-up, Suraj Prabodh playing on a wild card, opens against fourth seed Elias Ymer of Sweden.

Saketh Myneni who had a good run in Pune, beating the top seed along the way, will check the big game of newly crowned national champion Dalwinder Singh.

Vijay Sundar Prashanth will play compatriot Sumit Nagal, and Vishnu Vardhan will play Mario Vilella Martinez of Spain.

In doubles, top seeds Divij Sharan in partnership with Mikhail Elgin of Russia, would attempt to have a better run after the early exit last week.

The doubles draw has a rich Indian presence with six Indian pairs, apart from Sumit Nagal playing with Elias Ymer of Sweden, and Divij with Elgin.

The focus of the Indian players would be to stick it out and stay in the business end of the event to make it memorable for the home fans.

The seedings: 1. Blaz Kavcic (Slo), 2. Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp), 3. Yuki Bhambri, 4. Elias Ymer (Swe), 5. Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6. Evan King (US), 7. Pedja Krstin (Srb), 8.Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz).

The results:
Qualifying singles (third and final round): Borna Gojo (Cro) bt Antoine Escoffier (Fra) 6-1, 3-6, 6-0; Sidharth Rawat bt Timur Khabibulin (Kaz) 6-2, 7-6(5); Matej Sabanov (Cro) bt Naoki Nakagawa (Jpn) 7-5, 6-4; Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Shalva Dzhanashia (Rus) 6-3, 6-2.


Sidharth Rawat, Vijay Sundar Prashanth in final qualifying round of $100,000 Bengaluru Open

Second seed Sidharth Rawat cruised past compatirot Kunal Anand 6-2, 6-4 in the second qualifying round of the $100,000 Bengaluru Open on Saturday.

In the third and final qualifying round, Rawat will play seventh seed Timur Khabibulin of Kazakhstan, who tamed the Asian junior champion Nitin Kumar Sinha.

Vijay Sundar Prashanth outclassed Shahbaaz Khan 6-2, 6-1 to set up a final round clash against eighth seed Shaiva Dzhanashia of Russia. Shahbaaz Khan had battled past Suresh Dhakshineswar 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(3) in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Pune Open champion Yuki Bhambri has been seeded No.3 and drawn to play compatriot Sriram Balaji in the first round of the main draw. Wild card Saketh Myneni will play the national champion Dalwinder Singh.

The results:

Qualifying singles (second round):Antoine Escoffier (Fra) bt Chandril Sood 6-1, 6-1; Borna Gojo (Cro) bt Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam 6-3, 6-4; Sidharth Rawat bt Kunal Anand 6-2, 6-4; Timur Khabibulin bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-3, 6-4; Naoki Nakagawa (Jpn) bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-4, 6-3; Matej Sabanov (Cro) bt Lakshit Sood 6-4, 6-1; Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Shahbaaz Khan 6-2, 6-1; Shaiva Dzhanashia (Rus) bt Anvit Bendre 6-1, 6-2.

First round: Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam bt Ivan Sabanov (Cro) 6-1, 6-4; Kunal Anand bt Punna Vishal (US) 6-2, 6-1; Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Alexey Kedryuk (Kaz) 6-1, 6-2; Kaza Vinayak Sharma w.o. VM Ranjeet; Lakshit Sood bt Milan Radojkovic (Srb) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Shahbaaz Khan bt Suresh Dhakshineswar 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(3); Anvit Bendre bt Siddharth Vishwakarma 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.


Yuki Bhambri tames Ramkumar Ramanathan for another Challenger crown in Pune

Yuki Bhambri did his confidence a world of good as he tamed Ramkumar Ramanathan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the KPIT $50,000 Challenger men’s tennis tournament in Pune on Saturday.

It was the sixth Challenger singles title for the 25-year-old Yuki, and his first in two years that have been a struggle for the major part with injuries. The 23-year-old Ramkumar was left wondering as to when he would win his maiden Challenger, which he so richly deserves.

Yuki has been more solid on his return and has been travelling with his trainer Abhimanu Singh, which has paid rich dividends. The tennis acumen is ingrained in his system, and Yuki has grown into a powerful player who can hurt the top players.

Yuki had not dropped a set along the way. He had beaten Ramkumar 6-1, 6-1 at the start of the season in the Chennai Open ATP Tour event.

On the other hand, Ramkumar had perspired to a three-set victory in three tie-breaks in the first round, and kept improving to be at his assertive best in the semifinals against Saketh Myneni, who had beaten the top seed.

In the final, Ramkumar served more aces, but Yuki capitalised on the chances to pull through. When Ramkumar put a volley out on matchpoint, Yuki was understandably delighted and jumped for joy, punching the air in celebration.

It was Ramkumar who had beaten Yuki in the first of their three meetings, and this time, it was the first time the two fought on even terms in a final.

Yuki pocketed $7,200 and 80 ATP points that should boost his rank from No.137, while Ramkumar had to be content with $4,240 and 48 ATP points. He also should improve rank from No.150.

The players move to the $100,000 Bengaluru Open next week, for bigger rewards.

The results (finals):

Singles: Yuki Bhambri bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles: Tomislav Brkic (BIH) & Ante Pavic (Cro) bt Pedro Martinez & Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) 6-1, 7-6(5).


Yuki, Ramkumar set up all-Indian first at the $50000 + Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger

Pune, Nov 17: Third seeded Yuki Bhambri will clash with Ramkumar Ramanathan in an all-Indian first at the $50000 + Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger, at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Complex courts on Saturday.

First up, Yuki Bhambri wrapped up Spaniard and No. 2 seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-2, 6-4 in an encounter that hardly tilted away from the top-ranked Indian in an one hour 39 minute battle..

Later, fourth seeded Ramkumar Ramanathan won a battle of countrymen against wildcard and giantkiller Saketh Myneni 6-3, 6-2 in a short 47 minute encounter

In the first semifinal of the day, 25-year-old former champion Yuki continued his fine form against his the 127-ranked Spanish.
Backed by the partisan crowd, Yuki began Centre Court action on a high. After levelling 1-1 by holding serve, Yuki showed first signs of pushing the 32-year old Spaniard Menendez-Mace in the 3rd game. Yuki in his fit of resistance managed hold back two game points that the Spaniard gained, but fell short allowing the Spaniard to prevail on the third count and trail 1-2.

Thereafter, Yuki took control. With a hold-break sequence he went on to win five games in a row including breaks in the fifth and seventh games to close out 6-2.

The second set had Yuki jump to a 4-3 lead with a break, before faced stiff resistance by his opponent to hold and go up 5-3. In the next game, both Yuki and Adrian were locked in a battle royale in the ninth game. Forcing six break points, Yuki had the Spaniard comeback and hold serve, before returning to complete a 6-4 second set and dispose the last standing overseas player.

Men’s Singles, Semifinals: 3-Yuki Bhambri (IND) bt 2-Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) 6-2, 6-4

4-Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) b Saketh Myneni (IND) 6-3, 6-2

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