Karunuday made to sweat

Karunuday made to sweat

Vishnu, veteran Kirtane move into second round

 The last few months were trying for Karunuday Singh. The 23-year-old was nursing a back injury that kept him out of action since May. The rustiness in his game was evident when he opened his campaign in the Fenesta Open National Tennis Championships on Tuesday against talented Sasikumar Mukund of Tamil Nadu.

It took an erratic Karunuday, who is the top seed here, two hours and 27 minutes to claw back from a set down and douse the spirited challenge of a tiring Mukund 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the men’s singles.  

Watched by his father and coach Paul Dale from the stands, Karunuday struggled to find his rhythm, spraying the ball all over the court. Although a big server, he committed 15 double faults in the match to peg himself back. Mukund, 17, in contrast, impressed with his fluent groundstrokes and temperament but lacked the experience and fitness to seize the advantage.

He, though, began with confidence and cashed in on the mounting errors of his opponent. After an early exchange of breaks in the first set, Mukund was quick to go up 5-3 after Karunuday committed his seventh double fault. The Tamil Nadu teenager then served out the set with ease.

 Karunuday, however, stepped up the ante in the second set, stroking with power and assurance. Despite losing an early advantage, he hung on to break Mukund in 12th game, when the latter muffed a backhand, to take make it a set all.

Mukund fought back to make a rousing start in the decider. He led 3-1 and even held two break points to go up 4-1 but squandered the advantage. He soon ran out of steam and after the seventh game asked for a medical timeout for his back.

Karunuday pounced on the opportunity and reeled the next three games to close the set and the match.

“He (Mukund) is a good player. I just hung in there. I was very rusty as I haven’t played in last six months. But it is good I am still gritty and want to win. I began training just two weeks ago and want to get as many matches under my belt here,” said Karunuday, who next plays PC Vignesh of Andhra.

Second-seeded Vishnu Vardhan also entered the second round with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Saran Sai Reddy of Andhra Pradesh while former national champion Nitten Kirrtane, seeded fourth, also advanced after his opponent Arpit Sharma retired with an injured right shoulder. Nitten was leading 6-2, 2-0.

Results: First round: Men’s singles: 1-Karunuday Singh bt Sasikumar Mukunnd 3-6, 7-5, 6-4; PC Vignesh bt Ajay Yadav 6-3, 6-3, Saurav Sukul bt Vilaser Khate 6-0, 6-1; Rakshit Rishi bt Brahamjot Singh 6-1, 7-5; 4-Nitten Kirrtane bt Arpit Sharma 6-2, 2-0 (Retd); VM Ranjeet bt Vinod Sridhar 6-4, 6-2; Garvit Batra bt Lakshit Sood 6-4, 1-6, 6-4; Suraj Prabod bt Rubal Shandilya 7-5, 6-0; Siddharth Rawat bt Kaza Sharma 7-5, 6-4; Saurav Sukul bt Vilaser Khate 6-0, 6-1; Sidharth Rawat bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 7-5, 6-4; 7-Chandril Sood bt Ganesh Srinivasan 6-3, 6-2; 2-Vishnu Vardhan bt Saran Sai Reddt 7-5, 6-4.

Women's singles: 6-Vaishnavi  Peddyreddy bt Swetha Sreehari 6-2, 6-0; 2-Shweta Rana bt Nithya Raj Baburaj 6-2, 6-1; 1-Rishika Sunkara bt C Sai Samitha 6-3, 6-4; Ashima Garg bt Niku Amin 6-3, 6-1;  5-Amrita Mukherjee bt Arushi Bhasin 2-6, 6-1, 6-1; Simran Kaur Sethi bt Rushmi Chakravarthi 7-6 (5), 6-3; Palani Vale Thanushree bt Vineeta Singh 6-1,6-3; 7- Karman Kaur Thanti bt Preethi Srinivasan 6-0,6-0; Ramya Natrajan bt Abhilasha Vishwanath 6-2,6-1; Abinikka Renganathan bt Jennifer Luikham 6-2, 6-3; Riya Bhatia bt Damini Sharma 7-6 (3), 6-2; Sharon Paul bt 8-Himani Mor 7-5, 7-6 (0).