Shokeen pips Malik to enter second round

Shokeen has thus beaten teenager Malik for the second successive time, having beaten him in straight sets in an ITF tournament in Kolkata last year.

Shokeen was erratic to start with and paid for it losing the first set, dropping his serve in the eighth game.

The Delhi youngster’s exit looked imminent when he dropped his serve again in the fifth game of the second set, but he broke back in the eighth.

A couple of errors from Malik in the tenth game set up a break point for Shokeen and he converted it rifling a forehand down the middle. In the decider, both the players kept up the pressure by serving well before Malik called for a medical time-out after the eighth game for cramps in his right leg. He hobbled his way to hold his serve 5-5.

Malik limped to a triple break-point in the next game that twice went to deuce before Shokeen survived.

He then broke Malik, who had difficulty to even to stand, to serve out the set and the match, lasting two hours and 20 minutes.

At the adjacent court, wildcard entrants Maharashtra’s Ronak Manuja and Abhijeet Tiwari played to a standstill before the former won 7-5, 7-6(3).

In the other first round singles matches, PC Vignesh rallied from a set down to beat national runner-up Srirambalaji Narayanaswamy 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 while Vikram Reddy defeated Uzbek Vaja Uzakov 6-3, 7-6(4).

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