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Li rallies to shock fancied Mertens

Saketh, Thandi notch victories

China's Zhe Li rallied to shock fifth-seeded Yannick Mertens of Belgium 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on the opening day of $50,000 ATP Challenger of Delhi Open at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) on Monday.

Li now awaits the winner of the opening match between Indian qualifier Vishnu Vardhan or young wildcard holder Adil Kalyanpur.

In the remaining two men’s singles matches scheduled for the day, fourth-seeed Saketh Myneni brushed aside Alessandro Bega of Italy 6-3, 6-2. He now awaits the winner of the match between Sam Barry of Ireland or Australian Matthew Barton.

Myneni, ranked 137, was eager to go deeper into the draw. He is returning from winning the silver medal in the South Asian Games and said he was working hard on becoming more consistent.

“What I am focusing the most at the moment is my fitness. It is the most important thing for me to last the whole season. I would also like to be more consistent and go up in the rankings. Top 100 is always the goal. I feel I am getting there,” Myneni said.

“I feel it is also important that we have more Challenger event at home. Travelling becomes very tedious for players besides adding to the expenses. Organising such event at home will not only help the current lot but also the youngsters. We have had several tournaments at home in the last couple of years but the number has come down again.”

Sanam bows out
However, it was end of road for another Indian Sanam Singh. The Chandigarh boy retired hurt while trailing 4-6, 0-1 against third-seeded Stephane Robert of France.

In the $25,000 women's singles, wildcard Karman Kaur Thandi continued to give a good account of herself. The Delhi girl beat fellow wildcard holder Prarthana Thombare 7-6(5), 7-5.

In the other women’s singles,  Kamonwan Buayam of Thailand beat Indian qualifier Riya Bhatia 6-3, 6-3.

Another Thai girl Nicha Lertpitaksinchai beat Emily Webley-Smith of England 6-3, 6-0.  Meanwhile, sixth Seeded Sabina Sharipova beat Indian qualifier Sowjanya Bavisetti 6-2, 6-3.

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