New York: Indian qualifier Saketh Myneni gave a mighty scare to the world number 49 Jiri Veseley before limping out of the US Open as leg spasms scuttled his victory march, in New York on Tuesday.
Myneni, ranked 143 in singles, had a match point in the eighth game of the fifth set but stiffness in the right thigh restricted his movement badly and he was forced out 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-2 2-6 5-7 after battling hard for three hours and 47 minutes in a marathon first round match.
His first ever appearance in the singles draw of a Grand Slam thus ended in disappointment. Myneni was clearly a better player on the court but owing to fitness issues he lost the opportunity to play with Novak Djokovic, one of the greats of the game, in the second round.
It brought back the memories of the Davis Cup tie against Korea last month in Chandigarh, where similar scenes were witnessed as both the Indian and the Koreans struggled to stand on court due to humid conditions.
After splitting four sets, Myneni broke the Czech in the fourth game to take a crucial 3-1 lead and led 4-2 in the fifth set. The match changed at that stage as Myneni took a medical time out due to issue in his right thigh but managed to hold for a 5-2 cushion.
From a commanding position, Myneni lost grip over the He surrendered serve twice after that as he hardly had the strength to stand. An error-prone Vesely kept the hopes of the Indian alive but Myneni was now limping, barely managing to stay.
Vesely just needed to keep the ball in play to close the contest.