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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Sureshkumar lone Indian in semi-finals of $15,000 Men’s ITF Championships

Although down by 3-6 in the first set, Sureshkumar came back from the loss by breaking the ninth game in set two when he was 4-5 against Patten.

Written by Ruchika Goswamy | Pune |
Updated: March 27, 2021 7:59:58 am
Men’s ITF Championships, Manish SureshkumarThe sixth seed had a nip and tuck quarterfinal contest against Britain’s Henry Patten, closing in with a 3-6,7-6(3), 6-4 win on Friday. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

Manish Sureshkumar will be the sole Indian in the last four of the $15,000 Men’s ITF, being played at the Deccan Gymkhana hard courts. The sixth seed had a nip and tuck quarterfinal contest against Britain’s Henry Patten, closing in with a 3-6,7-6(3), 6-4 win on Friday.

Although down by 3-6 in the first set, Sureshkumar came back from the loss by breaking the ninth game in set two when he was 4-5 against Patten. In the tiebreaker in set two with a calm approach and sound strokes, Sureshkumar won with 7-6(3).

“The match was more mental as in who stayed on the court at that moment to get that one break. Today’s match was quite similar to the one in the round of 16. My opponent was serving really well and I was struggling with the returns. I could not break him until like 5-4 in the second set. Luckily, I got it at 4-4 and was able to close in on the match. I got some confidence and then the set went into a tiebreaker and there, anything can happen, but I just kept pushing every single point. I was just focusing particularly on my service games because I knew I would get a chance to break him. I would say I had a lot of chances but I broke him at 4 all in set two. He started to feel the pressure,” said Sureshkumar, who trains with Suresh Kumar at the Chennai Tennis Centre.

The Chennai player (ATP rank 666) will lock horns with fourth seeded Oliver Crawford of US, who got the better of national champion Arjun Kadhe, 6-3, 7-6(5).
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In another quarterfinal match, Sweden’s Jonathan Mridha (ATP rank 584) bested second seeded Irishman Simon Carr. While Mridha had a 7-5 win in the first set, medical strain marred his game in set two.

“By the end of the first set, I felt my quad cramping and it started to pull. I stopped playing as I was nervous that if I kept going in completely I would get a full body cramp. I thought maybe it is better to have some extra rest in the second set and go full in the third set. I hung in there and played every point. I had long matches and it is getting hotter so that can possibly be a reason,” said Mridha.

Currently training at Good to Great Academy, Mridha will have his second run-in with Zane Khan, winner of the recent ITF legs in Lucknow and Indore. Eighth seeded Khan edged out third seeded Briton Aidan MChugh with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win after making up for the loss in the first set.

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