Top seed Sriram Balaji shook off second-set hiccups to defeat young Vigneshwaran Ramesh 6-1, 7-6(5) in a second-round clash of the $10,000 LMW-ITF Futures tournament at the Perks Tennis Centre here on Wednesday.
Balaji was expected to beat his lesser-known fellow-Coimbatorean opponent easily, and the way he played the first set said it all — he went for his shots straightaway. “I did not plan anything big. I took it as a practice game for the matches ahead, and played the shots to my comfort,” he said.
It worked well for him. And, even before Vigneshwaran could find his groove, Balaji had wrapped up the first set 6-1.
In the second set, Vigneshwaran turned on the heat. He slowed the game a bit, and, the top seed struggled to get his shots right. The former cashed in on the chance and broke in the second game, and even ran up a 3-0 lead.
But Balaji got the break back to make it 3-3. Vigneshwaran did break again, and actually served for the set at 6-5. But Balaji pulled level again to force the tie-break. “I knew I had the edge over him in the tie-breaker,” said Balaji. “But, he played extremely well.”
Vigneshwaran said: “For the most part, I concentrated on my serve. I should have planned the returns as well.”
The results: Second round: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Tushar Mandlekar 6-0, 6-2; P. Vignesh bt Ajai Selvaraj 6-2, 6-3; Abdullah Shaik bt Fariz Mohammed 6-3, 6-1; N. Sriram Balaji bt Vigneshwaran Ramesh 6-1, 7-6(5), Jui-Chen Hung (Tpe) bt Chandril Sood 6-3, 6-3; Keith Patrick Crowley (RSA) bt Saurabh Patil 6-2, 6-2; Vijayant Malik bt Neeraj Elangovan 6-1, 6-2; Karunuday Singh bt Rakshit Rishi 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Keith Patrick Crowley & Arun Prakash Rajagopalan bt Kunal Anand & Sagar Manjanna 6-4, 7-6(4), Fariz Mohammed & P. Vignesh bt Jatin Dahiya & Shahbaaz Khan 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-8; N. Sriram Balaji & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Sumeet Shinde & U.M. Gugam Verma 6-2, 6-3.