It was once again left on the able shoulders of Leander Paes to bring the smiles back for Indian tennis fans as Somdev Devvarman, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Vijay Sundar Prashanth all crashed out in singles at the Chennai Open on Tuesday.
It was an error-ridden performance from both the wildcards Somdev and Ramkumar as they crashed out to Yen Hsun Lu and Tatsuma Ito respectively. Meanwhile, qualifier Prashanth’s brilliant run at the Chennai Open too came to an end as he succumbed to Jiri Vesely in the first round.
Leander Paes begins his doubles campaign on a winning note
India’s old warhorse Leander Paes was left the lone Indian standing on Day 2 as Indian hopes in singles ended at the 20th edition of the Chennai Open. The Indian ace, playing his 25th year on the Tour, came out all guns blazing as he teamed up with South African Raven Klaasen who is his 99th doubles partner.
This is Paes’s 15th appearance in 20 years at India’s only professional ATP tournament but the desire to win was still the same. The top-seeded doubles pair played some smart tennis and stopped a late comeback from Haider-Maurer and Lacko, posting a 6-4, 6-4 win.
In other doubles matches of the day, 2013 doubles winner Stan Wawrinka began his 2015 Chennai Open campaign with a comeback victory. The Swiss who partnered Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut upset third seeds Brunstrom and Monroe 5-7, 6-3, 10-8. Second seeded Andre Begemann and Robin Haase also won. They beat the pair of Cermak and Vesely 76(2) 64.
End of the road for Somdev, Ramkumar and Prashanth
Somdev crashes out
Much to the dismay of the Indian crowd, 2009 runner-up Somdev Devvarman crashed out to a 3-6, 4-6 defeat to World No. 38 Yen Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in 80 minutes. The India No. 1 who was making his sixth main draw appearance at the premier tennis event, surrendered to a player he had a winning head-to-head record against.
After losing the first set 3-6, Somdev started attacking the net more. It paid rich dividends as he broke back Lu to level the score 3-3 in the second set. It was however one last push from the Chinese Taipei player that sealed the win in the end.
Ramkumar flatters to deceive
A year ago, India’s young sensation Ramkumar Ramanathan had created a headline-grabbing upset of Somdev Devvarman at this venue. But he failed to reproduce his 2014 magic as an error-ridden display led to his exit at the hands of World No. 87 Tatsuma Ito. Ramkumar’s 32 unforced errors to the Japanese’s 12 was the telling difference of the match.
The 20-year-old Indian played his trademark aggressive game to register more winners than Ito. But it was the Japanese’s consistency and composure which helped him to carve out a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in 81 minutes.
Prashanth’s run ends
Curtains also came down on the brilliant run of Indian qualifier Vijay Sundar Prashanth. The 28-year-old who had sizzled in qualifying, upsetting Yuki Bhambri and Illya Marchenko, was no match for the 6’6’’ Jiri Vesely. The Czech stormed to a 6-2, 6-1 victory in just 67 minutes.
Other first round singles results
(5) G Garcia-Lopez defeats E Donskoy 67(3) 62 63
E Ymer defeats I Sijsling 64 46 63
P Gojowczyk defeats A Falla 60 61
R Berankis defeats L Vanni 61 26 75
A Bedene defeats L Lacko 76(0) 63
P Carreno Busta defeats A Gonzalez 61 63
With no Indian left in singles, Indian hopes now rest on the seasoned doubles players Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Saketh Myneni and Purav Raja. In singles, all eyes now turn to defending Chennai Open champion and reigning Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka as he takes the court on Wednesday.