Bengaluru: Sidharth Rawat of India created the biggest flutter on the opening day of the Bengaluru Open 2020 when he ousted Borna Gojo ranked more than 200 places above him to make it to the pre-quarterfinals of the $ 162,500 Challenger event at the KSLTA on Monday (February 10).

The Delhi lad rallied after being a set down to finally emerge a 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3) winner in a match that lasted 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Slated for the last match of the day, Sidharth was staring at defeat while being down 2-5 in the decider, Rawat, having reserved the best for the last pulled up his socks and came back strongly, mostly with deep shots and was helped by two double faults from the Croatian won the next four games with a break in the ninth game.

An early 5-1 lead in the tie-break helped the Indian to cruise through. This was after Gojo had clinched the first set with two breaks in the fourth and eighth games while losing his serve in the fifth.

The recovery began from the second set where his Rawat’s serve improved and both held their serves to decide via tie-breaker.

“I am thrilled with the result, more so with my game as it fell in place when it was needed,” said an elated Rawat.  

Earlier, in a re-match of the 2018 edition, Mukund Sasikumar sent Slovenian Blaz Kavcic home with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Also advancing to the second round was Saketh Myneni, runner-up at the last edition of the Bengaluru Open, who scored a clinical 6-3, 6-3 win over his Russian rival Aslan Karatsev.

Blaz who is slightly ranked higher than Mukund at 275, began in the right earnest and looked set for an easy victory as he raced to a 4-0 lead with breaks in the 1st and 3rd. However, the Indian showed a semblance of a comeback winning the next two games but it lasted just for a while as he committed too many unforced errors.

“I don’t know what was going on in my mind. I was trying too many things,” said Mukund as he lost the next two games and the set.

After both the players began breaking each other in the second set and repeated the pattern two games later to be tied at 3-3. The 23-year-old then achieved the crucial break in the seventh to surge ahead as Blaz in trying to adopt an aggressive approach, could not control his game and lost the set without winning the rest of the games.

In the deciding set, Mukund started off with a break in the very first game and held the advantage until the 6th which he lost but was still on track. Mukund, who has been fighting a mental battle as he later accepted, managed to break once again in the 9th game and served out for the match.

“I don’t think I deserved to win with the kind of game I played. He (Blaz) was playing really well and I think he too was in a similar spot like me in the second and third set,” said Mukund.

In a contrasting encounter, Myneni who is still under the 200 ranking just needed just one break (6th) to grab the opening set 6-3. The second set saw the players holding their serves until the sixth game as Myneni won the rest of the games with breaks in the seventh and ninth to emerge victorious.

Results (Round 1)

Mukund Sasikumar (IND) bt Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4;

Malek Jaziri (TUN) bt [WC] Arjun Kadhe (IND) 6-2, 7-6(5);   

Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3, 6-3

Laurent Lokoli (FRA) bt Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 6-3, 7-6(4);

Vaclav Safranek (CZE) bt Fabrizio Ornago (ITA) 7-6(5), 7-5;

Vladyslav Orlov (UKR) bt [WC] Suraj Prabodh (IND) 6-2, 6-2;

Khumoyun Sultanov (UZB) bt [WC] Prajwal Dev (IND) 6-2, 6-1;

Filippo Baldi (ITA) bt Evgeny Karlovskiy (RUS) 6-2, 7-5

Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) bt Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 6-1, 3-6, 6-0

[WC] Niki Poonacha (IND) bt [WC] Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(4)

Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(2)

Sidharth Rawat (IND) bt Borna Gojo (CRO) 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3)

Qualifying (Semi-finals)

Anirudh Chandrashekar (IND) bt Nikshep Ravikumar 6-3, 6-4

Abhinav Shanmugam (IND) bt [WC] Rishi Reddy (IND) 6-4, 6-2