Ricardo Ojeda Lara’s win over sixth seed Jiri Vesely was the highlight of the first round matches of the Main Draw of the Tata Open Maharashtra here today at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium, Pune.
The match between the two finished 6-3, 7-6 in Lara’s favour as the Czech had to concede an early defeat at India’s only ATP 250 World Tour event. The 24-year-old Spaniard had qualified for the Main Draw after winning two matches in the Qualifiers and looked like the man-in-form as he won the first set comfortably. In the second set, Vesely tried to bounce back but could not win the set as Lara ran away with a surprise victory.
However, seventh-seeded Mikhail Kukushkin did not let Moldova’s Radu Albot also cause an upset as he defeated the latter 6-2, 7-6. Albot got the backing of the crowd but could not match the efficiency of world no. 74 Kukushkin as the player from Kazakhstan took the first set 6-2. In the second set, Albot tried to put up a fight but Kukushkin utilised his experience to wrap up the match with a well-deserved win.
Eighth-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert won his first round match in three sets as he beat Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 to advance into the next round.
World no. 85 Marton Fucsovics defeated Nicolas Kicker in straight sets 6-0, 6-3 to advance to the second round. The Hungarian produced some exciting tennis to open his campaign in Pune as Kicker looked rusty, winning only 44% on his first service and conceded the loss to the higher-ranked Fucsovics.
Chile’s Nicolas Jarry also advanced to the second round after beating Spain’s Pablo Andujar in three sets 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.
In the Men’s Doubles category, the Indian pairing of N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan lost to British-Canadian pairing of Neal Skupski and Adil Shamasdin in three sets 3-6, 7-6, 10-6. Balaji-Vardhan pair was backed by the crowd at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium centre court giving them the first set comfortably 6-3. However, in a close second set, Skupski-Shamasdin beat the Indian pair 7-6 after the tie-break. In the third set, Balaji-Vardhan seemed to have lost momentum which resulted in them losing out in the tie-break again.