Mumbai, Sep 25 (UNI) Rohan Bopanna kept the Indian hopes alive as he was tied at one set each and 4-3 up in the deciding set against Nicolas Devilder of France in the first round of 416,000 US Dollars ATP Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open tournament at the CCI hard courts here today.
Navdeep Singh, however, could not cross the first hurdle, going down to fellow qualifier Toshihide Matsui of Japan in straight sets at 6-4, 7-6.
Bopanna with his booming serve pocketed the first set 6-3 with a break in the eighth game of the first set.
The Bopanna, however, lost the plot in the second with a lot of unforced errors coming into his play as he lost his opening serve in the second set to go down 0-2. This was enough for Devilder to hold on and pocket the second set 6-3 to take the match into a decider.
In the deciding set also, Devilder was the one to break Bopanna in the very first game. Bopanna, however, had his chance in the fourth game when he held four break points going up 40-0 on the Frenchman's serve, but Devilder fought back to hold his serve.
Bopanna, however, was not to be denied and got his break back in the sixth game, and then held his serve with three aces to go up 4-3 before the rains came down to force the players inside.
Singh, after losing the first set on a early break, fought hard in the second, matching the Japanese stroke for stroke as the set saw no break of services to force a tie-breaker. In the tie-breaker also, Singh fought hard before finally succumbing at 6-8 to give the Japanese the match.
In the other first round action, Viktor Troicki of Serbia fought back a tough second set challenge from Pakistani Aisam Quereshi to score a straight sets victory 6-2, 7-6 (4) and move into the second round.
Earlier, wildcarder Nicolas Kiefer of Germany sent the third seed Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu packing in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to score the biggest upset of the tournament so far.