Bengaluru, February 10: Mukund Sasikumar in a way inaugurated the Bengaluru Open 2020 as he was playing the first match of the tournament. In a re-match of the 2018 edition, Mukund sent Slovenian Blaz Kavcic home with a come-back 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win to advance to the pre-quarterfinals of the US $ 162,500 Challenger event at the KSLTA on Monday. Also advancing to the second round was India’s Saketh Myneni, runner-up at the last edition of the Bengaluru Open, who scored a clinical 6-3, 6-3 win over his Russian rival Aslan Karatsev.
Blaz who is slightly ranked higher than Mukund at 275, began in the right earnest and looked set for an easy victory as he raced to a 4-0 lead with breaks in the 1st and 3rd. However, the Indian showed a semblance of a comeback winning the next two games but it lasted just for a while as he committed too many unforced errors. “I don’t know what was going on in my mind. I was trying too many things,” said Mukund as he lost the next two games and the set.
After both the players began breaking each other in the second set and repeated the pattern two games later to be tied at 3-3. The 23-year-old then achieved the crucial break in the seventh to surge ahead as Blaz in trying to adopt an aggressive approach, could not control his game and lost the set without winning the rest of the games.
In the deciding set, Mukund started off with a break in the very first game and held the advantage until the 6th which he lost but was still on track. Mukund who has been fighting a mental battle as he later accepted, managed to break once again in the 9th game and served out for the match. “I don’t think I deserved to win with the kind of game I played. He (Blaz) was playing really well and I think he too was in a similar spot like me in the second and third set,” said Mukund.
In a contrasting encounter, Myneni who is still under the 200 ranking just needed just one break (6th) to grab the opening set 6-3. The second set saw the players holding their serves until the sixth game as Myneni won the rest of the games with breaks in the seventh and ninth to emerge victorious.
Mukund Sasikumar (IND) bt Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4;
Malek Jaziri (TUN) bt [WC] Arjun Kadhe (IND) 6-2, 7-6(5);
Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3, 6-3
Laurent Lokoli (FRA) bt Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 6-3, 7-6(4);
Vaclav Safranek (CZE) bt Fabrizio Ornago (ITA) 7-6(5), 7-5;
Vladyslav Orlov (UKR) bt [WC] Suraj Prabodh (IND) 6-2, 6-2;
Khumoyun Sultanov (UZB) bt [WC] Prajwal Dev (IND) 6-2, 6-1;
Filippo Baldi (ITA) bt Evgeny Karlovskiy (RUS) 6-2, 7-5
Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) bt Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 6-1, 3-6, 6-0
[WC] Niki Poonacha (IND) bt [WC] Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(4)
Matthew Ebden (AUS) vs. Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE)
Sidharth Rawat (IND) Vs. Borna Gojo (CRO)
Anirudh Chandrashekar (IND) bt Nikshep Ravikumar 6-3, 6-4
Abhinav Shanmugam (IND) bt [WC] Rishi Reddy (IND) 6-4, 6-2