Bengaluru, Nov 13: 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 383 ranks above him, in the first round of the US $150,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger being played 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 Hossam after the victory.
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. The last 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 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, on Tuesday 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 put 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 games 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 rival's serve in the 4th, 6th and 8th 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 who had reached the third round of the US Open last year.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran meanwhile who has 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 4th and 8th game, the Indian pocketed the first set 6-2 and in a fast-paced game, broke Nedelko's serve in the 6th and 8th games to advance to the next round.
Results (Round-1) (Prefix denoted seeding, parenthesis denotes country)
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
Courtesy: Media Release