Victor Crivoi, on his maiden visit to India, is eager to stop the slide in his rankings. Having been in the top 100 (75) in 2009, the Romanian has slipped to 241 now. Top-seeded here, Crivoi began his quest with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Filippo Leonardi of Italy in the first round of the MCC-S.R. Subramaniam Memorial ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the TNTA courts on Monday.

Crivoi will take on Urrutia Fuentes of Chile, who defeated Aswin Vijayaragavan 6-4, 6-1.

Leonardi was quick off the blocks, taking a 2-0 lead breaking the Romanian in the second game. Crivoi quickly recovered, hitting pin-point ground strokes, moving really well and using the drop shots to perfection as he pocketed the next six games with relative ease.

The second set followed a similar pattern, the only difference being Crivoi’s quality of play got better. His shot-making ability after each game showed signs of improvement.

India’s N. Sriram Balaji, the second seed, cruised past Maximilian Dinslaken of Germany 6-0, 6-3 to advance to the pre-quarterfinals. Playing at his fluent best — the approach shots, the razor sharp volleys — the 22-year-old outplayed the German without dropping a game in the first set.

However, Dinslaken showed glimpses of his potential in the second set hitting winners from the backcourt. After an initial loss in concentration, Sriram took control of the proceedings.

The results (first round): Singles: Victor Crivoi (Rou) bt Filippo Leonardi (Ita) 6-2, 6-2; Elwin Antony bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 4-6, 5-3 (retd.); N. Sriram Balaji bt Maximilian Dinslaken (Ger) 6-0, 6-3; L. Urrutia Fuentes (Chi) bt Aswin Vijayaragavan 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles: Arata Onozawa (Jpn) & Arun-Prakash Rajagopalan bt Austin Karosi (USA) & Libor Salaba (Cze) 6-1, 4-6(10-7); Ramkumar Ramanathan & V.M. Ranjeet bt Patrick Ciorcila & Victor Crivoi (Rou) 6-4, 7-5; Augusto Laranja (Bra) & Thales Turini (Bra) bt Sidharth Rawat & Tak Khunn Wang (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; Vijayant Malik & Vivek Shokeen bt Kunal Anand & Chandril Sood 6-1, 6-1; Elwin Antony & Mohd. Fariz bt Claudio Fortuna (Ita) & Ajai Selvaraj 6-4, 6-2.

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