Arjun Kadhe and his Austrian partner Alexander Erler won the doubles title at the second leg of the Bengaluru Open, beating the in-form pair of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-3, 6-7(4), [10-7].
For Kadhe, it was the second Challenger doubles title this year, after having won the Forli 1 event in Italy alongside Marco Bortolotti in early January. For Erler, it was a first-ever Challenger trophy.
Myneni and Ramkumar had something to cheer about too, securing a wild card into the doubles draw at the Dubai ATP 500 tournament that starts on Monday.
Kadhe and Erler had never played together before and hadn’t even practised as a team ahead of the tournament. The rustiness showed at times on court, when they didn’t communicate well. But for a first-time team they were pretty solid.
In the first set it was their return game that stood out. The Erler serve did come under pressure, like in the fifth game when it was broken. But they blunted the big serves of Myneni and Saketh effectively by breaking twice, once in the fourth and then in the sixth game.
In the second set, after a drama-free first nine service games, Erler was under pressure at 4-5, 15-40. But Myneni and Ramkumar fluffed all three set points. They however made amends in the tie-break, winning it to four points to even the contest.
In the match tie-break, the all-Indian duo went up 5-2, and seemed set to repeat last week’s tournament-winning success. But they lost six of the next seven points to hand back the initiative. Up 8-7, Erler had the match on his racquet and he didn’t disappoint, coming up with two fine serves.
Sunday’s singles final will see top seed Aleksandar Vukic take on Dimitar Kuzmanov. Bulgarian Kuzmanov seemed down and out in his semifinal against Enzo Couacaud, with his opponent serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, before staging a miraculous comeback.
The results (Indians unless specified): Singles (semifinals): Aleksandar Vukic (Aus) bt Borna Gojo (Cro) 7-6(5), 6-3; Dimitar Kuzmanov (Bul) bt Enzo Couacaud (Fra) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Doubles (finals): Alexander Erler (Aut) & Arjun Kadhe bt Saketh Myneni & Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-3, 6-7(4), [10-7].