Mukund Survives Scare At SKME ITF Open

Sasikumar Mukund (photo: KSLTA)

BENGALURU, March 15, 2022 (KSLTA Press Release)

Top seed Sasikumar Mukund survived a first-round exit scare against unseeded Rishab Agarwal in the $15000 SKME ITF Open being held at the KSLTA Stadium in Bengaluru, India on Tuesday. The 25-year-old toiled to a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory in two hours and 26 minutes to advance to the second round.

Maks Kasnikowski of Poland created the first flutter of the tournament when he felled the sixth seed Robert Strombachs of Germany in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. However, it was the young Nishant Dabas who stole the limelight of the day. The 18-year-old playing on a Junior-exempt spot in the main draw, a privilege earned by being in top-100 ranking and also the best junior player to have applied for exemption, produced an unexpected victory over Nikshep Ballekere Ravikumar 6-1, 7-6 (12-10) to enter into the last 16 stage.

Mukund and Rishab engaged in a close fight in the first set with both holding their serves until the 11th game where the fancied player lost his serve and Rishab served out for the set, dropping just a single point. With an early break in the second game, Mukund raced to a 4-1 lead. However his opponent showed signs of a comeback winning the next two games. But the spurt did not last for long as the seasoned campaigner earned a break in the eight game and won the next at love. The decider saw the first three games going with the serve with Rishab leading 2-1. However, his game dived southwards as he committed many unforced errors, which Mukund took gleefully to win five games on a trot to take the set and the match.

In another interesting duel, Dabas dominated the first set after both players had shared the first two games. The 18-year-old, who earned his first ATP points last week in Bhopal where he exited in the second round was skeptical about playing Ravikumar who had been the top junior in all age categories. Winning five games in a row, Dabas took the first set in just 32 minutes. In the second set, Dabas who was the only Indian to finish in the ITF Top 100 rankings for 2021, took a 3-1 lead after a break in the third game and was just break points away from winning the match. However, Ravikumar thwarted the effort and won three games in a row as the set headed for a tie-breaker that lasted 22 points. Ravikumar finally converted the fourth match point with his opponent hitting it out.

“I was not feeling well since morning but prepared myself for the match. When the second set entered into a tie-break, I was literally praying that the match should not enter the third set,” admitted Dabant, who won the ITF Junior World Tour event in Cairo in 2021.


Singles – Round of 32

Dalwinder Singh (IND) bt Yann Wojcik (POL) 6-4, 6-4; 1-Sasikumar Mukund (IND) bt Rishab Agarwal (IND) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Maks Kasnikowski (POL) bt 6-Robert Strombachs (GER) 6-1, 6-4; Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam (IND) bt WC-Tathagat Charantimath (IND) 6-2, 6-1; Nishant Dabas (IND) bt WC-Nikshep Ballekere Ravikumar (IND) 6-1, 7-6 (10)

Doubles – Round of 16

Parikshit Somani (IND)/Enzo Wallart (FRA) bt Daisuke Sumizawa (JPN)/Nicolas Tepmahc (FRA) 7-6 (2), 6-3; Arnav Pathange (IND)/Suraj R Prabodh (IND) bt Alexis Canter (GBR)/Dostanbek Tashbulatov (KAZ) 6-4, 4-6, 10-8; 3-Yuki Bhambri (IND)/Saketh Myneni (IND) bt Adil Kalyanpur (IND)/Karan Singh (IND) 6-2, 6-1; 1-Julian Cash (GBR)/Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt Nitin Kumar Sinha (IND)/Manish Sureshkumar (IND) 6-3, 6-0; Maks Kasnikowski (POL)/Yann Wojcik (POL) bt WC-Paras Dahiya (IND)/Jagmeet Singh (IND) 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-7; 2-Sasikumar Mukund (IND)/Vishnu Vardhan (IND) bt Dev Javia (IND)/Sidharth Rawat (IND) 4-6, 6-3, 10-7; Anirudh Chandrasekar (IND)/Vinayak Sharma Kaza (IND) bt Rishab Agarwal (IND)/Rishi Reddy (IND) 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-6; 4-Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine (FRA)/SD Prajwal Dev (IND) bt  Akram El Sallaly (EGY)/Lukas Krainer (AUT) 6-4, 6-2.