While Bhambri and Myneni won in straight sets, beating Gerard Granollers 6-2, 6-1 and Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-2 respectively, Sanam and Devvarman had it far tougher.

The three-week Challenger Tour swing in India was supposed to signify the start of exciting times for Indian tennis. After Wednesday’s proceedings it seems like a project well begun.

Four Indians have made it to the quarterfinals of the Shriram Capital-P.L. Reddy Memorial ATP $50,000 Challenger event. Somdev Devvaraman, Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni, and Sanam Singh have all reached the last eight, and, notably, have not been drawn to meet each other.

While Bhambri and Myneni won in straight sets, beating Gerard Granollers 6-2, 6-1 and Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-2 respectively, Sanam and Devvarman had it far tougher.

Sriram Balaji blew a 4-0 lead in the third set and passed up an opportunity to serve it out at 6-5 as Sanam staged a remarkable comeback to win 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1).

Huffing and puffing

Devvarman huffed and puffed his way to victory, as he had done on Tuesday, to overcome Michael Venus 6-7(4), 6-0, 6-3.

Bhambri looked the most impressive of the lot. Granollers was no pushover irrespective of the scoreline which indicated a lopsided duel.

The Spaniard hit the ball well and drew Bhambri into long rallies but it was just that Granollers’s better moments came when the 174th-ranked Indian was already ahead in many of the games.

“He hit the ball great,” said Bhambri. “He was consistent from the baseline. In a couple of games it could have gone either way, like the hold of serve at 3-1 in the second.

“It was a tough match. It’s an important win and it’s great to be in the quarters.”

As for Myneni, it was a question of his serve clicking.

A tall man, his serve is a big weapon, and whenever the delivery was erratic he looked in trouble. Like when he was broken in the third game of the first set.

But those moments were few and far between as his subsequent service games were clinical, except the hold for 5-2 when he had to serve his way out of trouble after falling behind.

“It feels good to be in the quarters…especially after an emotional Davis Cup win,” Myneni said. “Chennai has been a good hunting ground for me. It wasn’t a good start today but I came back well.”

However, it was not such a good day for the Indians in doubles as Devvarman, Myneni, Sanam, Ramkumar and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan fell by the wayside.

The results: Singles: Second round: Somdev Devvarman bt Michael Venus (Nzl) 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-3; Jordi Samper-Montana (Esp) bt Steven Diez (Can) 6-3, 3-1 retired; Lucas Pouille (Fra) bt Illya Marchenko (Ukr) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Yuki Bhambri bt Gerard Granollers (Esp) 6-2, 6-1; Saketh Myneni bt Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6-3, 6-2; Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) bt Blaz Rola (Slo) 6-4, 6-1; Sanam Singh bt Sriram Balaji 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1); Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) bt Rui Machado (Por) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(0).

Doubles: First round: Steven Diez (Can) & Daniel Munoz de la Nava (Esp) bt Ilija Bozoljac (Srb) & Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-3; G. Granollers & Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) bt Victor Baluda & Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) 4-6, 6-3, 10-8; Ti Chen (Tpe) & Marek Semjan (Svk) bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan & R. Ramkumar 6-3, 6-4; Hsien-Yin Peng & Tsung-Hua Yang (Tpe) bt Saketh Myneni & Sanam Singh 2-6, 6-4, 12-10; Yuki Bhambri & Michael Venus (Nzl) bt Ruan Roelofse & Izak van der Merwe (Rsa) 6-3, 6-3.

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