Second seed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan was beaten in straight sets by Karunuday Singh in quarterfinals of the MPTA ITF men’s Futures tennis championship here on Thursday.
That Singh, the eighth-seed, was a formidable opponent was never in doubt, but the scoreline surprised many. Under dense cloud cover — which, in spite of offering respite from the sun, was equally energy-sapping due to high humidity — he overcame Jeevan 6-3, 6-3.
The match was much closer. After going 4-2 down in the first set, Jeevan hit a number of moon balls to upset the rhythm of a clean-hitting and free-flowing Singh. The change in pace seemed to have the desired effect as it induced a lot of errors. The games often went the distance, decided only after half a dozen points.
But Jeevan’s failure to emerge on top after these close exchanges and Singh’s ability to hold convincingly when it mattered the most made the difference. A solitary break in the second at 4-3 was enough for Singh and he duly served out the match. He will now play un-seeded local boy Prajnesh Gunneswaran who took out Toshihide Matsui in two sets for his second seeded scalp in as many days.
Later in the afternoon, Jeevan made some amends by combining with N. Sriram Balaji to enter the doubles final. The Indian pair will meet the Japanese duo of Matsui and Bumpei Sato. In the other singles semifinal, top seed Balaji will play third seed Vijayant Malik. The two had contrasting routes to the semis. While Malik routed Garvit Batra in two lopsided sets, Balaji had to overcome a first set reversal to emerge victorious against Sato.
The results (Indians unless specified): Quarterfinals: Singles: Karunuday Singh bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-3, 6-3; Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Toshihide Matsui 7-5, 7-6(3); N. Sriram Balaji bt Bumpei Sato 1-6, 6-3, 6-3; Vijayant Malik bt Garvit Batra 6-0, 6-3. Doubles: Semifinals: T. Matsui & Bumpei Sato (Jpn) bt Keith-Patrick Crowley (Rsa) & Arun Prakash Rajagopalan 6-7, 6-2, 10-7; Sriram Balaji & Jeevan bt Fariz Mohammed & Vignesh Peranamallur 6-2, 7-6(3).