Bengaluru Open defending champion Sumit Nagal began his campaign at the ATP Challenger on a strong note as he toppled last year’s finalist Briton’s Jay Clarke in the opening round. Nagal, who needed a wildcard to enter the tournament he had won in 2017, defeated Clarke 6-4, 7-5 in a repeat of last year’s final.
In doubles, the Indian pair of Arjun Khade and Saketh Myneni stunned Thai fourth seeds Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 to move to the quarterfinal while wildcards SD Prajwal Dev and Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha beat Alexander Pavlioutchenkov of Russia and Filip Peliwo of Canada 1-6, 7-6 (3), 10-2. However, India’s Chandril Sood and Lakshit Sood went down 2-6, 2-6 to Max Purcell and Luke Saville of Australia.
During the qualifiers earlier in the day, Sasi Kumar Mukund made it to the main draw with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mick Lescure, the French player who had beaten Arjun Kadhe earlier. However, Siddharth Vishwakarma lost 4-6, 4-6 to Egyptian Youssef Hossam in the final qualifying round.
In the marquee first round clash, Nagal, who has endured a horrendous season, broke Clarke in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead in the opening set and served it out with a forehand return from the baseline in the next game. In the second set, he took an early lead 2-1 with a break, but the Briton came back strong, making it 2-2.
Trailing 4-5, Nagal broke Clarke for the second time to level scores. The Indian was down a break point in that game and broke again for a 6-5 lead and sealed the match on his serve.
Among the women, it was a bad day for both Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi at the WTA $125K event in Taipei.
Thandi stumbled in the last round of qualifying losing 2-6, 2-6 to Yuxuan Zhang while Raina bowed out in the first round against higher ranked Nao Hibino 6-7(6), 1-6. The two are still alive in doubles where they will be partnering with each other.
(With PTI inputs)