It was a largely positive day for India at the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune on Tuesday.
Ramkumar Ramanathan prevailed in a tense and excruciating battle against Australia’s Marc Polmans while Yuki Bhambri downed Kaichi Uchida to move to the second round.
In what turned out to be the match of the day, Ramkumar had to dig deep into his reserves before eking out a 6-7 (5), 7-6(5), 7-6(9) win in the opening round of the $50,000 hard court event. In the two-hour-56 minutes match, Ramkumar could convert only one of the 12 breakpoints as the Australian, ranked 322, came up with a stiff resistance.
Fourth seed Ramkumar, ranked 150 in the world, next faces Brydan Klien, who dumped Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-3.
Third seed Bhambri, who won the title in 2015 and broke into top-100 for the first time, fought off Japanese qualifier Uchida 6-2, 7-5. The top-ranked Indian trailed 1-4 in the second set but recovered swiftly to turn the match in his favour. He will play Croatia’s Ante Pavic next, who beat wildcard Arjun Kadhe 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in a closely fought match.
Earlier, Sumit Nagal defeated Austria’s Lucas Miedler 7-6(1), 6-0 and ‘lucky loser’ Vijay Sundar Prashanth made best use of the opportunity to end the campaign of wild card Aryan Goveas 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Indian clash.
Meanwhile top seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia got through his round against Geoffey Blancaneaux of France 6-4, 6-4 on an outside court while Spanish second seed Adrian Menendez Maceiras showed Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo the door with a 6-2, 6-3 win.
The doubles rubbers, which begin on Wednesday, will see more Indians in action.