Saketh lone Indian in last four
Saketh Myneni was the last Indian standing at the AirAsia Open $50,000 Challenger tennis event at the KSLTA Courts here on Friday after defeating fifth seed Yannick Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 7-6(6) to move into the semi-finals.
The tournament third seed, who last week claimed a Challenger title in Vietnam, was workman-like in the first set, claiming it without any fuss.
However, the Belgian was not one to throw in his towel and fought tooth and nail. Both players held onto serves in the first 10 games before Mertens was broken in the 11th game. Even there, the World No 183 fought hard but found his higher ranked opponent a step ahead.
The Belgian fought back to break the World No 166 in the very next game to restore parity and force the tie-break. Unforced errors from Myneni and some lovely passing shots saw Mertens breaking Myneni at 15. In the tie-break, Mertens raced away to a 4-1 lead. But his joy was short lived as the Indian re-invented himself to level at 5-all and then claimed two points from 6-all to seal the match.
Myneni will take on tournament top seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain in the semi-finals. Adrian had little problem in ousting Arthyr De Greef of Belgium 6-3, 6-4.
The second semi-final will pit second seed James Ward of Great Britain against Daniel Nguyen of the United States. The Briton defeated Indian Sanam Singh 6-3, 6-2 and Nguyen accounted for No Alessandro Bega 7-5, 6-4.
In the doubles semi-finals, wild card entrants John Paul Fruttero and Vijay Sunder Prashanth ousted the third seeded pair of Ti Chen and Dane Propoggia to move into the final. They will take on the second seeded Indian pair of Saketh and Sanam in the final to be played on Saturday evening.
Singles (Quarter-finals): (1) Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) bt Arrthur De Greef (Bel) 6-3, 6-4; (3) Saketh Myneni (Ind) bt (5) Yannick Mertens (Bel) 6-3, 7-6 (6); Daniel Nguyen (USA) bt Alessandro Bega (Ita) 7-5, 6-4; (2) James Ward (Gbr) bt Sanam Singh (Ind) 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles (Semi-finals): (WC) John Paul Fruttero (USA) / Vijay Sunder Prashanth (Ind) bt (3) Ti Chen (Tpe) / Dane Propoggia (Aus) 6-3, 3-6, 10-8; (2) Saketh Myneni (Ind) / Sanam Singh (Ind) bt (4) Gerard Granollers Esp) / Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) 6-4, 7-6 (3).