The large Indian contingent had a good day at the office after Aryan Goveas, Manish Sureshkumar, Chandril Sood and others won their respective opening matches to reach the second round of the competition in Pune. Barring them, wild card Tejas Chaukulkar entered the main draw after qualifiers.
21-year-old Aryan Goveas was up against Tobias Simon and the 867 ranked tennis player pulled off a stunner with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over the world No 480 German. This has been Goveas’ first win at the ATP Challenger in Pune in three attempts as a wildcard and he would be facing Sumit Nagal in the second round.
Manish was up against wildcard Anvit Bendre and he raced past him 6-2, 6-0, while Anirudh, who was facing Kazakhstan’s Timur Khabibulin, had to grind out a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win. Sood was pitted against America’s Dhruv Mulye and he overcame him 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour.
The other interesting match was between Japan’s Yusuke Takahashi, ranked 453, who was given a tough fight w by former national champion Siddarth Vishwakarma. However, the match ended with the Indian losing 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 in three sets.
Amongst the other Indians losing in the opening round were reigning national champion Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha and Lakshit Sood, who lost to Ukraine’s Danylo Kalenichenko 7-6(3),6-3 , and Russia’s Roman Blokhin 6-4,6-2 respectively.
Wildcard entrant Tejas Chaukulkar, however, claimed one of the two spots in the main draw after beating top-seeded Yash Chaurasia 6-3, 6-4 in the first qualifier, while former national champion Dalwinder Singh got the better of Suraj Prabodh, winning 6-4, 6-3 in the second qualifier.
With the remaining Indian qualifier winners and Kaza Vinayak Sharma all making it to the main draw as alternates, India now have a whopping 22 players in the tournament main draw - the highest ever in Challenger history.