It feel short of being a great comeback for Prakash Amritraj. The battle against the eighth seed Go Soeda lasted for two-and-a-half hours. But in the end, the Japanese prevailed 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-4 in a second-round match here on Wednesday.
Amritraj, making his ninth appearance in the ongoing Chennai Open, has improved by leaps and bounds after returning from a two-year break. More of a serve-and-volley player, he took the attacking route against Soeda and won several points with cleverly-placed winners.
Soeda had to toil hard to come back and win the first set after Amritraj took a 5-2 lead. The Indian was on set point but Soeda got a break and eventually won on the tie-break. Two breaks gave Amritraj the second set relatively easily. It all looked good for the Indian till 4-4 in the decider. It looked like Amritraj was well set to advance to the next round. The ninth proved to be the toughest, with the game going to deuce several times before Soeda finally broke his rival to go 5-4 up. From thereon, Soeda did not have too much trouble in retaining his serve to take the match.
“I just did not have the legs. I should have taken the first set. It is unfortunate that I did not take that chance,” Amritraj said later. “There were patches of errors and I cut that out but he put in a lot of effort.”
In a second-round upset on Wednesday, Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene sent sixth seed Dutchman Robin Haase packing with a 7-5 6-3 scoreline.
India’s Rohan Bopanna, Mahesh Bhupathi, Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Neduncheziyan were scheduled to play their doubles matches late on Wednesday.
In a late doubles match on Tuesday, Leander Paes (India) and Roger-Vasselin (France), seeded second, were defeated by the unseeded Thai pair of Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-7 (7) 1-6.
Singles (second round): 8-Go Soeda (Jpn) bt Prakash Amritraj (Ind) 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-4; Aljaz Bedene (Slo) bt 6-Robin Haase (Ned) 7-5 6-3; 2-Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) 6-2 6-3.
Doubles (first round): Andre Begemann/ Martin Emmrich (Ger) bt 4-Jamie Delgado/ Ken Skupski (GBr) 7-6 (3) 6-2; Raven Klaasen (RSA)/ Nicholas Monroe (USA) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp)/ Flavio Cipolla (Ita) 6-3 6-1; Somdev Devvarman (Ind)/ Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) bt Robin Haase/ Igor Sjisling (Ned) 7-5 6-3.