The battle was furious and it took two hours and 19 minutes for a winner to emerge. At the end of it all, the vanquished, Navdeep Singh threw his racquet in dismay — which went and hit a ball boy — sat on the court for a long time, and wondered where it all went wrong despite a good start.
Seventh seed Divij Sharan was pushed all the way by the unseeded Navdeep before winning his first round match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 of the ITF Men’s Futures at the DLTA on Monday.
Navdeep’s powerful groundstrokes and his ‘never say die’ attitude had everyone hooked and egging the underdog on. But in the end, it was the experience of Sharan, which gave him the edge over his opponent. The twenty-year-old Sharan, who was playing on his favourite hard surface, came back strongly after losing the first set 4-6.
The second set was in Sharan’s kitty right from the outset. Despite Navdeep’s best efforts, Sharan’s well-executed forehands went unanswered. The final set could have gone either way but it was Sharan who prevailed.
In the other match of the day, fifth seed Karan Rastogi convincingly triumphed over his unseeded opponent Vishnu Vardhan 6-4, 6-2.
In the doubles match, Doha returned top-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Mustafa Ghouse exchanged friendly glances, smiled and cruised into the second round with a brilliant 6-3, 6-4 victory over the unseeded Korean/Japanese pair of Hiroki Kondo and Hyun-Woo Nam.
Singles: Karan Rastogi bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-4, 6-2; John-Paul Fruterro bt Purav Raja 6-2, 6-2; Qualid Jallali bt Ravishankar Pathanjali 6-4, 6-4; Xavier Pujo bt Vladislav Bondarenko 6-3, 6-4, Hsin-Han Lee bt Petar Jelenic 6-1, 6-3; Divij Sharn bt Navdeep Singh 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles: Rohan Bopanna/Mustafa Ghouse 6-3, 6-4; Alexey Kedriuok bt Karan Rastogi/Aushutosh Singh 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; Sandeep Kirtane/Purav Raja bt Aditya Madkekar/Yannick Nelord 6-2, 6-2; Vinod Sridhar/Vishal Uppal bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/Vishnu Vardhan 6-3, 7-6 (3).