The four years spent at the University of Alabama has made Saketh Myneni a well-rounded personality. Playing for his college and the need to spend quality time for studies as well made him realise the importance of sports and education.
The 24-year-old Indian, who had excelled for his University bagging several honours as the best student athlete, scripted a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in the first round of the TNTA-SAIL International Tennis Federation $10000 men's Futures tournament at the SDAT-Nungambakkam Stadium here on Monday.
Playing in his first tournament at the Futures after returning from United States of America, Saketh, a wildcard entrant, crushed his opponent, who too is playing his first tournament at home, with huge serves and effective groundstrokes in the first set.
Jeevan, a canny left-handed player and a wildcard, too, began to assert his class in the second with deep groundstrokes.
Saketh, however, turned the tables in the tiebreaker with the help of his first serves and crisp volleys.
Vijay Sundar Prashanth, seeded fifth, was cruising 4-2 in the second set after pocketing the first when Kaza Vinayak Sharma staged a fightback winning the next four games.
Vijay found his bearings in the third set to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 40 minutes. Vijay will meet N. Sriram Balaji.
The Sriram-Ramkumar match was the cynosure of all eyes at Court No. 4.
Ramkumar, who will turn 17 on Tuesday, lost from a position of strength. Sriram emerged a deserving 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 winner.
The results (Indians unless otherwise mentioned):
Singles (first round): Karunuday Singh bt Yu Chang (Chn) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; V.M. Ranjeet bt Saurabh Patil 6-1, 6-0; N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
N. Sriram Balaji bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4; Saketh Myneni bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-3, 7-6(3).
Qualifiers: Rithvik Anand, Sidharth Rawat, Saurabh Singh, Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, Jason Jung (USA), Arun Prakash, Rakshay Thakkar, Shahbaaz Khan.
Doubles (first round): Vijay Kannan & Rohan Gajjar bt Ivan Arenas-Gualda & Jaime Pulgar-Garcia (Esp) 6-3, 6-4; Ajai Selvaraj & Sunil Kumar Sipaeya bt P. Vignesh & Kaza Vinayak Sharma 7-6(6), 3-6(10-8).
Vijay Sundar Prashanth & A. Rajagopal bt Deepinder Bains & Pulkit Mishra 6-1, 6-0; Elvin Antony & Neeraj Elangovan bt Saurabh Patil & Sidharth Rawat 6-2, 6-3; Mohit Mayur & Saketh Myneni bt Hector Ruiz-Cadenas (Esp) & Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-3, 6-4.
Vivek Shokeen & Karunuday Singh bt Kunal Anand & Ankit Sachdeva 2-6, 6-0(10-3); Sriram Balaji & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Ronak Manuja & Sumeet Shinde 6-4, 6-1.
Yu Chang (Chn) & James Marsalek (Gbr) bt Chandril Sood & Lakshit Sood 6-7 (6), 6-3(10-8).