French Open 2016: Saketh Myneni blows hot and cold in qualifying to lose against Frances Tiafoe
Paris: There will be no Indian competing in the singles event of the French Open as Saketh Myneni was knocked out of the Qualifiers following a straight-set defeat against American Frances Tiafoe in Paris on Wednesday.
Seeded 28th and ranked 147, Myneni had his moments before losing 6-7 (5) 5-7 in the second round contest that kept oscillating from one extreme to the other.
At one stage, Myneni almost rose from the dead as he was trailing 2-5 in the opening set but stretched it to a tie-breaker before letting go a set point in the 12th game.
Tiafoe, ranked 188, showed tremendous willpower to fight even when he was on backfoot in the tie-breaker as he was staring down the barrel trailing 2-5. He reeled off five straight points to nose ahead.
The Indian conceded a 4-1 lead in the second set but kept fighting. He soon reduced the gap and made it 4-4, breaking Tiafoe in the eighth after staving off a breakpoint.
Eventually, Myneni dropped serve one final time in the 12th game to let Tiafoe advance to the second round.
Ramkumar Ramanathan was knocked out on Monday in the first round itself.
In the opening set, Myneni had got an early opportunity to take lead but squandered three break chances in the second game after an easy hold.
Tiafoe though did not waste opportunity that came his way as he cashed in on the first break chance in the third game to create a mini-opening.
The Indian got the break back immediately but only to drop his serve in the fifth to hand back advantage to the American. Tiafoe held his serve in the sixth to lead 4-2 in the opening set and consolidated it with another break of serve.
Serving for the set at 5-2, Tiafoe lost his serve and Myneni saved four set points in the gruelling ninth game to narrow the gap to 4-5.
Stepping up the pressure, the Indian broke Tiafoe in the next game to bring the match to even keel at 5-5. An easy hold at love for Myneni in the next meant that the American was not serving to stay in the set.
Tiafoe not only saved a set point in the 12th game but also erased a 2-5 deficit in the tie-breaker, winning five straight points, to take one-set lead.
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The 25-year-old Briton, ranked 30 in the world, did not drop a set en route to the trophy and lost just 10 games in his final three matches. But he still needed four championship points before he could secure the title.