Paes outshines Sharan as Prajnesh also off to winning start at the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra

Bopanna, Nagal will be key attractions in doubles on Wednesday, Nagal makes cut into doubles main draw following withdrawal of injured Gojowczyk

Pune, February 4: Legendary Leander Paes marked his arrival at the third edition of Tata Open Mahrashtra with a thumping 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) win over compatriot Divij Sharan in the doubles opening round match at Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Tuesday.

Playing alongside Australian partner Matthew Ebden, eight-time doubles Grand Slam Champion Paes, who is playing his last tournament in India, showed his class during his clinical victory against defending champion and second-seed Sharan, who was playing alongside New Zealand’s Artem Sitak.

Earlier, India No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran stamped his authority at home with a sensational straight sets victory against Yannick Maden in the singles opening round match. The Indian star Gunneswaran held his nerves throughout the match as both the sets went into tie-breakers before the Indian wrapped up the hard-fought contest 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) to begin his campaign on a winning note.    

In the other singles opening round match local boy Arjun Kadhe suffered a straight-set 6-2, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Jiri Vesley. Playing in front of home crowd, Kadhe, who received wild card entry into the main draw, tried to make comeback into the match with some good fight in the second set but it was too late as the 26-year-old Czech player wrapped up the match convincingly.  

India’s Rohan Bopanna and Sumit Nagal will be key attraction on the third day of the tournament as they will begin their quest for the doubles title on Wednesday. The defending champion Rohan Bopanna, who will partner alongside Kadhe, as the Indian duo will take on French pair of Benoit Paire and Antonie Hoang. While, Nagal and his partner Egor Gerasimov of Belarus will face Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja in the opening round match.

Just a day after getting knocked out in the singles opening round, India’s rising star Nagal will be back in action in Pune as he included in the doubles main draw following the withdrawal of Peter Gojowczyk due to injury. The 22-year-old Nagal, who went down 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 against Serbian ace Viktor Troicki on Monday, will replace the German pair of Gojowczyk-Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in the main draw.

The Australian star James Duckworth marked his arrival with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win over Gojowczyk. Duckworth, who is making his maiden appearance at the South Asia’s only ATP Tour Tournament which is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra, faced tough challenge in the first set which went into tie breaker. However, the sixth seeded Duckworth saw taking charge of the second set and winning it convincingly.

On Monday, Ramkumar Ramanathan showed great resilience against Italian opponent Salvatore Caruso before going down 6-3, 4-6, 5-7 in the singles opening round match. The India No. 3, who received wild card entry, put a solid performance to win the first set easily. However, he failed to retain the momentum in the next two sets which saw Caruso making a comeback to clinch the next two sets as well as the match.

Results (Singles): Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) bt Yannick Maden (GER) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); Jiri Vesley (CZE) bt Arjun Kadhe (IND) 6-2, 6-4; James Duckworth (AUS) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; Roberto Marcora (ITA) bt Lukas Rosol (CZE) 6-3, 6-2; Egor Gerasimov (BLR) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-2, 6-3; Ilya Ivashka (BLR) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-3, 6-2; Nikola Milojevic (SER) bt Antoine Hoang (FRA) 7-6, 6-4.

Doubles: Leander Paes-Matthew Ebden bt Divij Sharan-Artem Sitak 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).