Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran suffered a tough loss in the third round while three Indians made it to the quarter-finals of the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune on Thursday.
Fourteenth seed Tim van Rijthoven of Netherlands caused the biggest upset as he beat India No 1 Prajnesh 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 after a gruelling three-setter that lasted two hours and 10 minutes. Not at his 100 per cent because of a wrist injury, the 2018 runner-up was unable to convert six break points in the decider and 11 in the match.
However, India No 2 and 3 – Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan – set up an intriguing quarter-final clash.
Third seed Nagal had an easy passage into the last eight as his opponent, Ivan Nedelko, retired from the match with Nagal leading 2-0 due to lower back pain. In the first match of the day, Ramkumar eased past 12th seed Cem Ilkel of Turkey 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes.
Their upcoming match-up that will be of most interest to Indian fans, ensuring that there will be at least one home player in the semi-finals. Ramkumar holds a 5-0 head-to-head record against his compatriot, but Nagal is the player ranked higher and in better form coming into the match.
Earlier, eighth seed Sasikumar Mukund played a near-perfect game to beat Turkey’s Ergi Kirkin 6-0, 6-2 in just 65 minutes to make it to the last eight. The 22-year-old will take on second seeded James Duckworth for a place in the semi-finals.
Australia’s Duckworth ended the solid run of 20-year-old Manish Sureshkumar 6-1, 6-2. Fourth seeded Steven Diez, fifth seeded Jay Clarke and seventh seeded] Roberto Ortega-Olmedo of Spain were the other players to make it to the last eight.
India will have representation in the doubles semi-final as well after third seeds Arjun Kadhe and Saketh Myneni beat the Russian pair of Bogdan Bobrov and Ivan Nedelko in a thrilling match tiebreak. The Indian pair won 6-4, 4-6, 16-14, converting their seventh match point.
They will take on second seeds Japanese Toshide Matsui and India’s Vishnu Vardhan who rallied from a set down to beat Steven Diez of Canada and Roberto Ortega -Olmedo of Spain 3-6, 6-2, 10-4.
The all-Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja – who had won the Kobe Challenger title on Sunday – began their campaign with an easy win. They beat wildcards Parikshit Somani and Anvit Bendre 6-2, 6-4.
Singles (Pre quarter-finals)
 Tim. Van Rijthoven (NED) bt  Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
 Roberto Ortega-Olmedo (ESP) bt (11) Shuichi Sekiguchi (Jpn) 6-2, 6-4
 Steven Diez (CAN) bt (15] Brydan. Klein (GBR) 6-0, 6-2
 Jay Clarke (Gbr) bt  Duckhee Lee (KOR) 6-1, 6-4
 Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) bt  Cem Ilkel (TUR) 6-3, 6-4
 Sumit Nagal (IND) bt  Ivan. Nedelko (RUS) 2-0 (Retd)
 Sasikumar Mukund (IND) vs bt Ergi. Kirkin (TUR) 6-0, 6-2
 James Duckworth (Aus) bt Manish Sureshkumar 6-1, 6-2
 Arjun Kadhe/ Saketh Myneni (Ind) bt Bogdan Bobrov/ Ivan Nedelko (Rus) 6-4, 4-6, 16-14
Toshide Matsui (Jpn)/ Vishnu Vardhan (Ind) bt Steven Diez (Can) / Roberto Ortega -Olmedo (Esp) 3-6, 6-2, 10-4
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