Chennai, Feb 9 : In the first semifinal of the Chennai Open Challenger 80 Tennis Championship
being held at the SDAT Tennis Stadium, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Mukund Sasikumar the sixteenth seed set the Indian hearts racing when he got off to a dream start against Corentin Moutet of
France the second seed.
The young 22 year old Indian had earlier upset the third seeded Mohamed Safwat of Egypt and then
got the better of Brydan Klein of Great Britain sent down three aces in the very first game which
ensured his domination throughout the first set.
Corentin who had a tough match against Nicola Kuhn of Spain the previous day was rather slow to get off the blocks lost his service game meekly to allow Mukund a 2-0 lead. Mukund held serve with ease to go up 4-1. Corentin with a height of 5’9” was beginning to get into his groove held his serve and then broke Mukund to reduce the deficit to 3-4.
Corentin lost the crucial eighth game when he served a double fault due to the pressure that Mukund
mounted with his fierce returns. Mukund then served an ace on game point to clinch the first set 6-3.
In the second set Mukund kept up the momentum but at the same time Corentin got his back his touch
and began to play with increasing confidence.
He varied his game mixing penetrative slices with topspin strokes on both flanks. He also served with greater accuracy and led 5-4. In crucial tenth game Mukund served a double fault to give Corentin a set point which he duly capitalized on to take the set 6-4 and level the match.
Within a matter of minutes Mukund looked out of sorts as the Frenchman scampered all over the court returning every shot with ease. He threw in looping forehands and crisp backhand slices and an occasional drop shot.
Mukund was denied the pace from his opponent’s strokes and his timing faltered. The Frenchman was now in the driver’s seat as he led 4-1 and completed a 6-2 win to enter the finals. (UNI)