K.C. Vijaya Kumar

CHIKMAGLUR: "Get a grip" was the slogan scrawled across Vishal Uppal's T-shirt. However, for the Indian wild card, getting a grip on his serve and opponent proved elusive as his singles campaign in the $25,000 Coffee Cup ATP Challenger tennis tournament suffered an early finish.

Vishal lost to second-seeded Danai Udomchoke of Thailand 6-4, 6-2 in a first round match, which lasted for 70 minutes, at the Centenary Stadium Courts here on Monday.

Udomchoke's victory came on a day when all the seeded players in action entered the second round with minimum fuss.

Earlier, third-seeded Yen Hsun Lu of Taipei defeated wild card Mustafa Ghouse 6-3, 6-2 in the day's opening match while Japan's Go Soeda overcame Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-6(3), 7-6(4).

No drinking water

The match between Sebastian Rieschick and Philip King was stalled for 14 minutes during the first set, as no drinking water was available for the players. And the absence of scoreboards made it tough for the spectators to follow the proceedings.

The clash between Uppal and Udomchoke began on a keen note as the Indian dished out his usual serve-and-volley act. However, Uppal's serve let him down and he had eight double-faults in the match. In the first set, Uppal's faultlines opened up in the third game as he failed to hold serve with three double faults striking a jarring note. Udomchoke was up 2-1 and never looked back.

Solid player

"He is a solid player and got a headstart with those early breakpoints. I also struggled with my serve due to the stiff wind," Uppal revealed later.

Meanwhile, Ghouse tried his best but found Yen Hsun Lu too hot to handle. Yen Hsun broke his rival thrice to clinch the match in style.

In doubles, the third-seeded duo of Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna breezed past the Ukranian combine of Sergei Bubka and Orest Tereshchuk 6-4, 6-2.

Late evening showers forced the cancellation of the matches featuring Kiran Nandkumar vs. Karan Rastogi and Slovakia's Victor Bruthans vs. Japan's Toshihide Matsui.

The results: Singles (first round): Yen Hsun Lu (Tpe) bt Mustafa Ghouse 6-3, 6-2; Adrian Cruciat (Rom) bt Mohammed Al Ghareeb (Kuw) 6-3, 6-4; Danai Udomchoke (Tha) bt Vishal Uppal 6-4, 6-2; Philip King (USA) bt Sebastian Rieschick (Ger) 7-5, 6-1; Go Soeda (Jpn) bt Lukas Lacko (Svk) 7-6(3), 7-6(4). Doubles (first round): Prakash Amritraj/Rohan Bopanna bt Sergei Bubka (Ukr)/Orest Tereshchuk (Ukr) 6-4, 6-2.

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