Kudryavtsev edges out fighting Prakash

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Chennai, Jan 2: The Indian challenge in the singles draw of the ATP Tour Chennai Open had a sad end to it with wild card entrant Prakash Amritraj going down guns blazing to qualifier Russian Alexandra kudryavtsev 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(8) in the first round at the Nungambakkam stadium here past midnight.

Prakash had only himself to blame for his numerous unforced erros, despite coming up with some dazzling volleys on the forehand on some big points.
Prakash lost the first set rather tamely with the Russian serving big and packing power into his shots, broke the Indian in the fifth and the ninth games for a quick 6-3 lead. However, Prakash staged a splendid fight back in the second, levelling 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and breaking Kudryavtsev in the ninth game and holding serve in the tenth to draw level, winning the set 6-4.

But the marathon midnight duel extended into tie-breaker, with Prakash finding his rhythm again in the decisive third. He broke the Russian in the sixth to make it 3-4, down from 2-4. He drew level at 4-4 and broke the Russian again for a 5-4 lead. But the Russian broke Prakash in the tenth game to level 5-5 and went up 6-5.

Prakash, however, forced a tie-break, holding serve in the 12th game. Then each waited for the other to succumb, but the Russian held his nerve till the end, levelling 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8, winning ultimately at 10-8, as Prakash faultered again.

Prakash, who had been a wild card entrant to the main draw since 2003, had made it to the second round of the singles in the Chennai Open just once.

With Vishnu Vardhan the other Indian wild card having bowed out yesterday, the Indian challenge came to an end. Prakash, partnering his cousing Stephen Amritraj, had also lost the first round doubles yesterday.

UNI

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