Vishnu Vardhan fails to rise to the occasion in ATP Open

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Chennai, Dec 31 (UNI) It was quite an experience for the first timer on the ATP world tour stage for rookie Indian Vishun Vardhan as he went down 1-6, 2-6 to French man Edouard Roger Vasselin losing the first round match to bow out of the singles draw of the Chennai Open at the Nungambakkam stadium here today.

The Hyderabadi, given a wild card entry following his triumph in the grass court Nationals at Kolkata last week, was gathering steam by way of stroke-making and serve but by then the Frenchman had wrapped up the 55-minute long match.

Both were struggling to get their first serves in but Vasselin, the essentially clay court player, ranked no 97 on the ATP circuit, was vastly experienced vis-a-vis Vishnu. The Frenchman passed him, slammed down an ace when it mattered and came to the net for the point winning drop. But Vishnu lost the contest right from the first serve in the match, pinned to the baseline, as the awfully one-sided contest unfolded.

Vasselin, who started off in style, held serve in the very first game and then broke Vishnu in the second and sixth games of the first set. Vishnu was gradually finding his feet or rather the strokes but he was clearly overrawed by the situation. Into the second set, Vishnu was broken in the first game and then in the fourth.

''I was nervous. I was thinking too much about the match. It was no t the serve or my shot making'', Vishnu said , ruing on his defeat.

Vishnu said the courts here had also slowed down, compared to what they were when he played some Futures.

Vishnu Vardhan's exit meant that the weak Indian challenge in the championship now has only the other wild card player Prakash Amritraj in fray.

Meanwhile, on action filled centre court, after Xavier Malisse came through his first round singles match easily, Spaniard and the star of the Chennai Open Rafael Nadal partnering his compatriot Bartlome Salva Vidal bowed out of the doubles event, losing in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and Marc Gicquel of France.

The Spanish duo were the doubles runners up in the Chennai Open last year. Baghdtis and Gicquet broke the Spaniards in the third game of the first set and the fifth game of the second.

UNI

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