Country’s ace players Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal lost in the pre-quarterfinals, ending India’s challenge in the men’s singles event of the Bengaluru Open here on Thursday.
While the seventh seed Prajnesh threw in the towel to a lowly-ranked Benjamin Bonzi of France 6-7(5) 0-6, eighth seed Sumit lost to 11th seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia 3-6 3-6.
Other Indians to make the exit were 17th seed Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, wildcard entrant Niki Poonacha and Sidharth Rawat.
However, there was some cheer in the Indian camp as legendary Leander Paes, who is in his last year of professional tennis, entered the men’s doubles semifinal partnering Australian Matthew Abden.
Paes and Abden beat third seeds and champions of an ATP event last week, Andre Goransson of Sweden and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia, 7-5 0-6 10-7.
Earlier, Myneni had combined with Matt Reid of Australia and won a hard-fought battle against the top-seeded pair of Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Denys Molchanov of Ukraine 3-6 6-4 10-8 to enter the last four round.
Also moving on to the next round in the doubles is Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan. The all Indian pair recorded a straight set 6-4 6-4 victory over the Portugal-Serbian combination of Frederico Silva and Nikola Milojevic.
“I was not comfortable coming into the match. I did not play as I wanted to. I am still trying to figure out what was wrong. I was just able to co-ordinate my movements. I wanted to play aggressive shots but most of the time I was defending,” said Prajnesh after his exit.
“I should have broken him a little earlier in the first set. And after going 4-1 up with a down the line shot, I thought I was back into my elements. He still played well but I did not do anything to match him,” he added.
Italian Thomas Fabbiano had come with a reputation of having registered two epic wins in 2019 defeating world no. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the second round of Wimbledon and beating world no. 4 Dominic Thiem in the first round of the US Open, just last year.
But on Thursday at the KSLTA, he faced some resistance from one of India’s leading player Myneni before living up to his billing of ninth seed here. The 30-year-old registered a 6-4 5-7 6-2 win to enter the quarterfinals of the USD 162,500 prize money event.
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