On a day when the fancied players bit the dust, Ante Pavic caused the biggest ripple as he showed fourth seed Elias Ymer the door in a pre-quarterfinal match of the US $ 100,000 Bengaluru Open at the KSLTA Stadium on Wednesday, November 22.
The unheralded Croatian who was a 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) winner, will clash with Jay Clarke of Great Britain who upset fifth seed Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in a grueling three-setter 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinal.
In another upset, lucky loser Antoine Escoffier of France sent home eighth seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
However the top seed Slovenian Blaz Kavcic of Croatia and third seed Yuki Bhambri of India, although stretched by their respective opponents, made it to the last eight stage. While Kavcic was stretched by Spaniard Mario Vilella Martinez before prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, Bhambri quelled the challenge of Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-2, 7-6 (0).
Gunneswaran continues fine form
Prajnesh Gunneswaran who had felled sixth seed Evan King in the opening round, continued his fine run eliminating Australian Marc Polmans 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-1 in a fast paced game. Also advancing to the quarterfinals was wildcard Sumit Nagal who was a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 winner over Brydan Klein of Great Britain and Tsung-Hua Yang of Taipei who overcame qualifier Borna Gojo 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Gojo had earlier ousted second seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the opening round.
Kavcic who has been struggling with a knee pain, raced to a 4-0 lead, thanks to breaks in the first and third games. However, the Spaniard fought back to win three games in a row and showed the promise of a comeback which he did in the second set which he clinched 6-3.
A disputed line call was playing up on Kavcic's mind which did make him lose his concentration. In the deciding set, Martinex lost his serve in the opening game but broke back. A similar story followed in the fifth and sixth game.
Kavcic sent down an ace to hold serve in the seventh game and achieved a break in the next to go 5-3 up. Martinez saved three match points, thanks to two double faults but before he could lose control, the top seed sealed the match.
"I am not used to playing in high altitudes. The long games are putting pressure on my knee," said Kavcic who by the virtue of his second round win has almost sealed a spot in the Australian Open in January.
Prajnesh began on the right note breaking his opponent twice and racing to a 4-0 lead. The 28-year-old served with fervour and achieved great results as he clinched the first set 6-2. In the second set, Polmans made a remarkable recovery from being 2-4 down and took the set to a tiebreaker and won. However, in the decider, Prajnesh didn't give a semblance of a chance to his opponent as he sent down winners past his tiring rival.
Singles (prefix indicated seeding)
1-Blaz Kavcic (SLO) bt Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; 3-Yuki Bhambri (IND) bt Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-2, 7-6 (0); 5-Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) lost to Jay Clarke (GBR) 7-6(3), 2-6, 4-6; 8-Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) lost LL-Antoine Escoffier (FRA) 3-6, 6-2, 3-6; Ante Pavic (CRO) bt 4-Elias Ymer (SWE) 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5); Marc Polmans (AUS) lost to Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-1; Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE) bt Q-Borna Gojo 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; Sumit Nagal (IND) bt Brydan Klein (GBR) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
1-Mikhail Elgin (RUS) / Divij Sharan (IND) bt Sumit Nagal (IND) / Elias Ymer (SWE) 6-3, 6-3; Ivan Sabanov (CRO) / Matej Sabanov (CRO) bt 2-Brydan Klein (GBR) / Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-1, 2-6, 10-8; 3-N Sriram Balaji (IND) / Vishnu Vardhan (IND) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) / Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-3, 6-3; Tomislav Brkic (BIH) / Ante Pavic (CRO) bt Timur Khabibulin (KAZ) / Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) 6-1, 4-6, 10-7
Quarterfinal line-up Singles
1-Blaz Kavcic (SLO) Vs. Sumit Nagal (IND); 3-Yuki Bhambri (IND) Vs. Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND); Jay Clarke (GBR) Vs. Ante Pavic (CRO); LL-Antoine Escoffier Vs. Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE)
Semifinal line-up Doubles
1-Mikhail Elgin (RUS) / Divij Sharan (IND) Vs. 3-N Sriram Balaji (IND) / Vishnu Vardhan (IND)
Ivan Sabanov (CRO) / Matej Sabanov (CRO) Vs. Tomislav Brkic (BIH) / Ante Pavic (CRO)