'I was both nervous and confident. Nervous because I was playing the top seed and was cursing the draw and confident because I did not have anything to lose,' said Youssef Hossam after the victory
Bengaluru: Coming from a country which does not boast much of a tennis legacy, Egyptian Youssef Hossam created the biggest flutter of the tournament when he toppled the top seed Radu Albot of Moldova, ranked 382 above him, in the first round of the $ 150,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger at the KSLTA here on Tuesday (November 13).
The 20-year-old, who came through three tough qualifying rounds, was a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 winner.
“I was both nervous and confident. Nervous because I was playing the top seed and was cursing the draw and confident because I did not have anything to lose,” said world no. 483 Hossam after the victory.
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In a minor upset, Slovenian Blaz Kavcic who was seeded No. 1 in the last edition but unseeded this year, breezed past eighth seed Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-2, 6-0.
Amongst the Indians, fourth seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran wasted no time in brushing aside the challenge of Russian Ivan Nedelko with a 6-2, 6-2 victory while wild card entrant Saketh Myneni beat fellow Wild Card Adil Kalyanpur 6-3, 7-6(3).
Qualifier Sasi Kumar Mukund also advanced to the last 16 stage defeating American Collin Altamirano 7-6 (6), 6-3. Another Indian in the main draw and wild card entrant Suraj Prabodh went down tamely to Frenchman Quentin Halys 3-6, 1-6.
The doubles matches also saw the top seeded Indo-German pair of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kevin Krawietz crash out of the tournament losing to the duo of Slovakian Andrej Martin and Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 3-6, 6-3, 7-10.
Apart from a ITF Futures title he won in Portugal in August this year, Hossam, has struggled to get past the second round on the Challenger Tour. However, today he was a different man on the court.
After a nervous start, where he committed many unforced errors and lost his serve in the first and third games to be 0-4 down. Before he could stabilize himself, he had lost the first set, although without losing his serve, by which, he grew in confidence that reflected in the next two sets.
“I stopped committing errors and out the ball on the court which kind of unsettled my opponent,” said the winner who didn’t lose his serve while achieving breaks in the fourth and eight game to garner the second set.
In the decider, Hossam seemed to lose the grip for a brief while when he lost his serve in the third game but came back brilliantly to win the next five games on a trot, breaking his world no. 101 rival’s serve in the fourth, sixth and eighth games to win the set and the match.
“In big matches, there are times when the underdogs perform well and today was such a day,” said the 29-year-old top seed Albot who had reached the third round of the US Open last year.
Meanwhile, Prajnesh Gunneswaran had a good run in 2018, achieving a career-high ranking of 141 last week, with a Challenger title and a loss in the final in China last month, put his forehand to good use against the Russian Nedelko.
With two breaks in the fourth and eighth games, the Indian pocketed the first set 6-2 and in a fast paced game, broke Nedelko’s serve in the sixth and eighth games to advance to the next round.
Results (Round 1) (Prefix denotes seeding)
Q-Youssef Hossam (EGY) bt 1-Radu Albot (MDA) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
W-Saketh Myneni (IND) bt W-Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 6-3, 7-6(3)
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) bt 8-Filip Peliwo (CAN) 6-2, 6-0
Q-Sasi Kumar Mukund (IND) bt Collin Altamirano (USA) 7-6 (6), 6-3
Q-Sebastian Fanselow (GER) bt Q-Zzombor Piros (HUN) 7-6 (3), 6-4
4-Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) bt Ivan Nedelko (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
6-Quentin Halys (FRA) bt W-Suraj Prabodh (IND) 6-3, 6-1
Brayden Schnur (CAN) bt Max Purcell (AUS) 6-4, 7-6 (3)
LL-Zizou Bergs bt Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-1, 6-2
Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) bt Danilo Petrovic (SRB) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Andrej Martin (SVK)/Hans Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) bt 1-Kevin Krawietz (GER)/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND) 6-3, 3-6, 10-7
Cheng-Peng Hsieh (TPE)/Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE) bt Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)/Marco Trungelliti (ARG) 6-1, 3-6, 10-3
2-Purav Raja (IND)/Antonio Sancic (CRO) bt Romain Arneodo (MON)/Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-4, 6-7 (6), 11-9
3-N Sriram Balaji (IND)/Vishnu Vardhan (IND) bt W-Sumit Nagal (IND)/Brayden Schnur (CAN) 6-4, 6-3
Last Updated 8:06 PM IST