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Tata Open Maharashtra: Nagal, Gunneswaran advance to Round 2 of Qualifiers

Sumit Nagal

Pune: The first round of Men’s Singles Qualifiers of the Tata Open Maharashtra took place here today at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium, Pune with Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, Sumit Nagal, Joao Souza, Ricardo Ojedalara, Carlos Taberner, Ilya Ivashka and Thiago Monteiro all securing victories to qualify for the next round of qualifiers.

It was the Indian duo of Jayesh Pungliya and Prajnesh Gunneswaran who started off the Qualifiers as they faced each other in the opening game. It was Gunneswaran who won the match in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. The match saw Gunneswaran take advantage of his experience to secure the first set by winning points on his first service. In the second set, Gunneswaran did not give the youngster any chance of making a comeback as the former wrapped up the match in straight sets.

Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras also advanced to the second round of Qualifiers as he beat India’s Shahbaaz Khan 6-2, 6-0 in straight sets.

In the second all-Indian match of the Qualifiers, 20-year-old Sumit Nagal caused an upset as he secured a victory in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 against the experienced Divij Sharan. Nagal started the match well as he won the first set comfortably 6-2 and wrapped up the match in the second set with a score line of 6-3.

Brazil’s 29-year-old Joao Souza also started on a winning note as he beat South Korean Soonwoo Kwon in a match that went into three sets. The first set saw the young Korean dominate as he served three aces to win 6-4. However, Souza came back strongly in the second winning it by 6-3 and take the match into the third set. The last and deciding set saw both the players not giving an inch but it was the Brazilian who survived off a 7-6 to wrap up the match 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.

Carlos Taberner

Spain’s Ricardo Ojeda Lara beat an inexperienced Sasi Kumar Mukund in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. Carlos Taberner continued a good day for the Spanish players as he beat India’s Vishnu Vardhan in three sets 5-7, 6-2, 7-6. It was the 30-year-old Indian who started the match well as he won the first set 7-5. However, Taberner showed his quality to make a comeback into the match by winning the second and third sets.

Ilya Ivashka from Belarus also made his way through to the next round of Qualifiers as he beat the experienced Franko Skugor in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. The Croatian looked rusty from the start and could not keep up with the intensity of Ivashka as the latter ran away with the match by serving well.

In the last match of the day, India’s N Sriram Balaji was up against Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro. It was a spectacle for the viewers as both the players displayed some energetic play to win a set each. Balaji took the first set 6-3 but Monteiro returned the favour in the second set by winning 6-3. In the last and deciding set, both the players kept fighting till the end but it was the Brazilian Monteiro who won on the tie-break to take the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Results – Qualifying Singles – First Round

Qualifying – [1] T. Monteiro (BRA) d N. Balaji (IND) 36 63 75
Qualifying – [2] A. Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) d [WC] S. Khan (IND) 62 60
Qualifying – J. Souza (BRA) d [3] S. Kwon (KOR) 46 63 76(4)
Qualifying – [4] C. Taberner (ESP) d V. Vardhan (IND) 57 62 76(3)
Qualifying – [5] R. Ojeda Lara (ESP) d S. Mukund (IND) 62 61
Qualifying – [6] S. Nagal (IND) d [WC] D. Sharan (IND) 62 63
Qualifying – [7] I. Ivashka (BLR) d F. Skugor (CRO) 63 63
Qualifying – [8] P. Gunneswaran (IND) d [Alt] J. Pungliya (IND) 64 61

Upcoming – Second Round

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2017

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
Qualifying – [2] A. Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) vs [6] S. Nagal (IND)

Not Before 2:30 pm
Qualifying – [1] T. Monteiro (BRA) vs [8] P. Gunneswaran (IND)

COURT 2 start 1:00 pm
Qualifying – [4] C. Taberner (ESP) vs [7] I. Ivashka (BLR)
Qualifying – J. Souza (BRA) vs [5] R. Ojeda Lara (ESP)

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