Local favourite Arjun Kadhe and sixth seeded Manish Sureshkumar are among the last eight of the $15,000 Men’s ITF Championships after rigorous matches with their respective opponents at the Deccan Gymkhana hard courts on Thursday.
In one of the round 16 matches, newly crowned national champion Kadhe (ATP rank 713) was down in the first set against Czech player Dominik Palan. In sets two and three, Kadhe pursued his opponent to tie-breakers where he triumphed with an overall 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win.
21-year-old Sureshkumar, on his match with junior entrant Zsombor Velcz, said that although he was down the first set 3-6 against the 18-year-old Hungarian, he knew he had to keep his cool and hang in there.
“It was a great match. I was down throughout the match but I played the crucial points very well. Even in the long games I managed to hang in there. In the second set, the long games were very important where both of us were reaching a deuce, but whoever wins the game gains momentum for the upcoming game,” he said.
Sureshkumar said that his mental toughness made it possible for him to recover from a set and a breakdown and that overall, he is performing better this week. He overcame his loss in the first set with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours and nine minutes.
Coaching under Sureshkumar Sonachalan at the Chennai Tennis Centre for 13 years now, Sureshkumar said he has been working on something alongside his coach, which they are planning to bring into the court.
“He (Velcz) was serving really well and while I did not know him as a player, my coach has observed his previous games and gave me some tips. But he surprised me during the match as I was prepared to rally a lot but he was playing aggressive…By set two, I had more clarity in what to do and fall back into the game,” he said.
Qualifier N Vijay Sundar Prashanth (ATP rank 1350), junior player Dev Javia, qualifier Ishaque Eqbal (ATP rank 696) and qualifier Paras Dahiya’s winning streak was broken by their respective opponents in the round of 16.
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While Javia had the game tipped in his favour in the first set, his opponent, fourth seeded American Oliver Crawford, ended the good run by a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win. In another round 16 match, Dahiya was down by 1-6 but soon regained his stride with a 7-5 in set two. However, within two hours of the match, he endured medical strain and lost 1-6, 7-5, 5-7 to Sweden’s Jonathan Mridha.
“In the first set, I could not find my rhythm so I lost 1-6. Then, somehow, I fought back and triumphed in the second set. In the third set, I was leading but due to my indiscipline off the court, that is my hydration, and I am not happy with that,” said Dahiya.
Second seeded Irishman Simon Carr (ATP rank 543), third seeded Briton Aidan Mchugh (ATP rank 544)and eighth seeded Zane Khan of USA (ATP rank 643), too, will be part of the quarters to be held on Friday.