Bengaluru, Feb 11 (IANS) Local lad and wild card entrant Niki Poonacha stunned 16th seed Lucas Rosol, ranked 570 places above him, to make it to the quarter finals of the Bengaluru Open at the KSLTA in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The 24-year-old won 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 over the Czech in a match that lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes.
“I am thrilled to have reached this stage of a Challenger event which was my dream since the last year. And having beaten a seeded player I am even more happy,” said Poonacha.
After a gruelling opening round on Monday, Poonacha, although tired, pulled himself along and broke Rosol in the 10th game to take the first set. The 34-year-old Rosol, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2012 beating Rafael Nadal along the way, won breaks in the fifth and seventh games and served out for the set at 6-2. An early break in the second game of the decider saw the match turn in favour of Poonacha.
“After I broke him, I was determined to just hold my serve and I am happy that I did,” said the lad who was born in Tamil Nadu and had won the Nationals last year. “I don’t even know whom I am playing in the next round but I hope to keep the rhythm going,” he said adding that “at the moment, I am trying to improve my ranking and play on the Challenger Tour more often.”
In the other upsets of the day, 2019 runner-up Saketh Myneni sent sixth seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia packing in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 while qualifier Abhinav Shanmugam prevailed over the fancied Daniel Masur of Germany 7-5, 6-3.
Saketh, currently ranked 192nd, got broken in the third game and was down 1-3 in the next. However he came back strongly to win the next five games on a trot with breaks in the 6th and 8th games to take the first set. Myneni who has been flirting with injuries during the last two years, broke the Russian in the third game to gain an advantage and broke again in the ninth to take the set and the match.