Tennis: Bhambri, Prajnesh to begin Indian challenge at Tata Open

Yuki Bhambri

Tennis: Bhambri, Prajnesh to begin Indian challenge at Tata Open

Pune, January 30, 2022

Yuki Bhambri and Prajnesh Gunneswaran will kickstart the Indian challenge by taking on Jozef Kovalik and Daniel Altamaier, respectively, in the 4th Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Monday.

The country’s top-ranked player Ramkumar Ramanathan and local boy Arjun Kadhe will also start directly in the singles main draw which consists of a strong field with the presence of top players from the world including World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev.

Bhambri, who received a direct entry into the main draw, will take on Slovak player Jozef Kovalik while the Asian Games medallist Prajnesh, who entered the tournament as a wildcard, will start his challenge against the fifth seeded Daniel Altamaier.

Lithuania's highest ranked player ever, Ricardas Berankis, who had a semi-final finish in the last edition, will also be seen in action as seven singles opening round matches will be played on Monday. Berankis will be up against Halys Quentin of France.

Making a debut here, Lorenzo Musetti will be keen to make his mark and win his maiden singles title.

The second seed will start as one of the strong contenders for the singles title at the tournament which will witness a strong competition with players like defending champion Jiri Vesely.

The 19-year-old suffered first-round defeats at the season opener Adelaide 1 and Australian Open. However, the Monte Carlo-based player said he will look to produce some quality performances at the tournament and get the momentum going ahead.

“I played two good matches with two really great opponents. They showed they were playing best tennis and both the matches were close,” Musetti told the media during a virtual press conference on Sunday.

“I’m here to win matches. I will try to go as far as I can and get the confidence that I used to have,” he added.

Musetti had an impressive 2021 wherein he broke into the Top 100, made his Grand Slam debut and had a two-set lead against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the French Open but retired in the fifth set. He rated that match as one of the best of his career.

Top-seeded Australian pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith will open their campaign against Stefano Travaglia and Bernabe Zapata Miralles as four doubles matches will take place on Day 1 of the main draw.

In the qualifying matches, played on Sunday, India’s Sasikumar Mukund and Manish Sureshkumar suffered defeats in the first round. While Mukund lost to Turkey’s Celikbilek Altug 6-3, 6-3, Sureshkumar conceded a 2-6, 3-6 loss against Czech player Kopriva Vit.

Alexandre Muller, Elias Ymer, Jay Clarke, Gian Marco Moroni, Marc Polmans and Kimmer Coppejans were the players who progressed into the second qualifying round and are now a win away from a spot in the main draw.

The tournament, scheduled from January 31 to February 6, is being organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association.

NNN

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