India has a new Top 100 player in Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni wins his second ATP Challenger title. All this and more in our weekly round up of Indian tennis,
Saketh Myneni wins second ATP Challenger Title
Saketh Myneni certainly seems to be getting better with age as the 28-year-old captured his second ATP Challenger title, this time in Ho Chi Minh City with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Australian Jordan Thompson. Myneni hit 10 aces and saved 5 of 6 breakpoints during the final. Myneni also reached the doubles final alongside Sanam Singh, where they lost to Tristan Lamasine and Nils Langer. Singh was the only other Indian to win a round in the singles, going down to second seed James Duckworth. Wild card Sumit Nagal, qualifiers N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Somdev Devvarman all lost in the first round of the singles. Devvarman has now lost in the first round in six of his last 7 events on the tour – continuing his slide in form and rankings in recent months.
At the Tashkent Challenger, 23-year-old Yuki Bhmbri’s good run in recent weeks continued with a semi-final appearance, where he was beaten by eventual winner Denis Istomin. The Indian has won 15 of his last 18 matches on the tour and breaks into the Top 100 for the first time in his career this week. Bhambri and partner Michael Venus did not get past the first round of the doubles event and neither did Divij Sharan and Adil Shamasdin.
Rohan Bopanna Reaches Shanghai Semi Finals
With regular partner Florin Mergea still out of action due to injury, Rohan Bopanna partnered with Polish player Lukasz Kubot for the ATP Shanghai Masters and made a run to the semi-finals. The eighth seeds scored wins over Dominic Inglot/ Robert Lindstedt and Feliciano Lopez/ Max Mirnyo before bowing out to the red-hot pairing of Raven Klaasen/ Marcelo Melo 3-6, 7-6, 7-10. Klaasen/ Melo, who played together for the first time in Beijing last week and went on to win the title, repeated the act to win their second title in as many weeks. Leander Paes/ John Peers won one round before going down to seventh seeds Daniel Nestor/ Eduoard Roger-Vasselin. While Paes has no chance to qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, Bopanna and Mergea are currently in eighth place in the race to London and need a good showing this week in order to secure one of the last two spots for London.
Ramkumar Ramanathan Wins Doubles Title in Turkey
On the ITF circuit, Ramkumar Ramanathan reached the singles semi-finals in Turkey but was forced to retire down 4-6, 0-3 to Slovak wild card Alex Molcan. However, the Indian youngster did win the doubles title with Sarp Agabigun, scoring a 6-4, 6-4 win over top seeds Kiril Dmitriev/ Luca Margoli. This was his second ITF doubles title of the season and the tenth of his career. In Houston, qualifier Rihab Agarwal had the best week of his career, reaching the semi-finals which included a win over second seed Matt Ried 7-6, 3-0 retd. before bowing out to Lucas Gomez 2-6, 6-7. In Philippines, fifth seeded Kaza Vinayak Sharma was knocked out in the first round but Kunal Anand won two rounds to reach the quarter-finals where he was beaten by Arata Onozawa. The duo, seeded second in the doubles, lost in the first round as did the other Indian pairing of Medhir Goyal/ Arpit Sharma.
On the women’s ITF circuit, Kyra Shroff upset second seed and World No. 373 Diana Buzean 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round in Tunisia and went down to Jessika Ponchet. In Turkey, Eetee Mehata reached the second round while Ashmitha Easwaramurthi lost in the first round in Kazakhstan.
Yuki Bhambri Breaks Into Top 100
With his semi-final appearance in Tashkent, Yuki Bhambri breaks into the Top 100 for the first time in his career, up 6 spots to No. 99 this week – making him only the fifth Indian male player to break into the Top 100 in the Open Era. With Myneni defending the points from his Indore Challenger win in the same week last year, he climbs only two spots to No. 166, another career-high while Devvarman slides six spots to No. 181. In doubles, Rohan Bopanna drops 2 spots to No. 15 while Paes remains static at No. 36, Purav Raja drops one spot to No. 96 and Myneni climbs 9 spots to No. 123. Sania Mirza retains the top spot in doubles, with Prarthana Thombare staying put at No. 294 and Ankita Raina at No. 310. Raina drops 2 spots to No. 245 and Rishika Sunkara drops 2 spots to No. 527.