Myneni braves cramps to progress

Tennis ATP Challenger : Indian overcomes Belgian Mertens to advance to semifinals

Myneni braves cramps to progress

 Troubled by a cramped leg for most part of the tie, a determined Saketh Myneni put up a splendid show to beat Belgian Yannick Mertens and book his place in the semifinals of the AirAsia ATP Challenger tennis tournament here on Friday.

The third-seed took close to an hour and 30 minutes to record a 6-3, 7-6 (6) win over the Belgian to set up a clash with top-seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain, who saw off another Belgian Arthur De Greef 6-3, 6-4 at the KSLTA stadium.

With both players not having dropped a single set en route their quarterfinal appearances, the Myneni-Mertens tie promised to be a close one and it lived up to the expectation with the players fighting for every point.

While the fifth-seed Mertens showcased his forehand prowess with a few delightful winners, Myneni was determined to not let his opponent have the upper hand as he countered the challenge with his strong baseline game. And it was the Indian, banking on his swift court movements, who struck first as he broke the Belgian’s serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead.

Though he had to take a medical time-out to treat his cramping left thigh later in the set, Myneni made sure that he held his serve to take the opening set without much trouble.
Playing with a strapped thigh, nothing seem to stop the determined Myneni as he was once again the first one to gain an upper hand in the second set -- the Indian breaking Mertens’ serve in the 11th game to set himself up for a well-deserving win off his serve. But the Vizag-born player stumbled as double faults and a fumble near the net saw Mertens break the Myneni serve for the first time to level proceedings and force a tie-breaker. Myneni then made sure that there were no hiccups as he eased through the tie-breaker to book his semis berth.

Earlier in the day, Great Britain’s Davis Cupper James Ward continued his fine form to seal his place in the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over India’s Sanam Singh. Ward will face-off with Daniel Nguyen of the United States. Nguyen beat Italian Alessandro Bega 7-5, 6-4 in his quarterfinal tie.

The unseeded Bega had earlier pulled out one of the upsets of the tournament as he recorded a straight sets win over Indian ace Somdev Devvarman in the second round of Thursday. The Italian beat the Indian fourth-seed 6-4, 6-3.

Myneni-Sanam in final

Meanwhile in doubles, the second-seed Indian duo of Myneni and Sanam beat the fourth-seeded Spanish combine of Gerard Granollers and Adrian 6-4, 7-6 (3) to book a place in Saturday’s final.

The Indian duo will take on the Indo-US pair of N Vijay Sundar Prashanth and John Paul Fruttero who beat Chinese Taipei’s Ti Chen and Dane Propoggia of Australia 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.

Results (prefix denotes seedings): Singles (Quarterfinals): 1-Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) bt Arrthur De Greef (Bel) 6-3, 6-4; 3-Saketh Myneni (Ind) bt 5-Yannick Mertens (Bel) 6-3, 7-6 (6); Daniel Nguyen (US) bt Alessandro Bega (Ita) 7-5, 6-4; 2-James Ward (Gbr) bt Sanam Singh (Ind) 6-3, 6-2.

Doubles (Semifinals): John Paul Fruttero (US)/ Vijay Sunder Prashanth (Ind) bt 3-Ti Chen (Tpe)/ Dane Propoggia (Aus) 6-3, 3-6, 10-8; 2-Saketh Myneni (Ind)/ Sanam Singh (Ind) bt 4-Gerard Granollers (Esp)/ Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) 6-4, 7-6 (3).

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