Top seed Cilic knocked out, Lee bows out.

In the biggest upset top seed and World No 6 Marin Cilic was knocked out by Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-7 (5), 7-5, 5-7; Leander bows out

Sherine Paul

Chennai: On his return to the Chennai Open after four years, top seed and two time ACO champion Marin Cilic received a rude shock as he was knocked out by the Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik in three sets.

In a closely contested first set there was little to separate the two as either player was unable to take a clear advantage. Kovalik went for broke in the tie-breaker and clinched it 7-6(5). Cilic came back strong all guns blazing in the second set and raced to a 3-0 lead, things however got tight after the Slovak broke back. Cilic held his nerve and broke Kovalik at 5-5 and went on to seal the second set 7-5. The third set also seemed to be headed towards a tie-breaker but a sloppy service game from Cilic at 5-5 saw him drop his serve. He fought valiantly in the next game to bring up break back points but Kovalik stood firm and pulled off the upset.

The crowd were thoroughly entertained during the match that lasted three hours and Kovalik was able to match Cilic stroke for stroke, particularly on the backhand side to always stay within reach of the win.

In the second match Dudi Sela saw of young H Chung in quick time beating him 6-2 6-2. The last match of the day saw crowd favourite Leander Paes with his partner Andre Sa take on the Indian pair of Divij Sharan and Purav Raja. While there were still glimpses of Leander’s fine touch at the net and a few passing shots, the duo of Sharan/Raja broke them to take the first set 6-4. An early break in the second saw them lose in straights 6-4 6-4 and making an exit in the first round. There was something to cheer about for Indian fans as Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Neduncheziyan won their first round in straight sets winning 6-4. Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan weren’t as lucky though as they lost to Benoit Paire and Steve Darcis 4-6 6-0 8-10.

Results Round 2 Singles: J Kovalik beat (1) M Cilic 7-6(5) 5-7 7-5, (3) A Ramos-Vinolas beat Steve Darcis 6-2 6-0, D Medvedev beat Lu Y 6-4 6-3, D Sela beat H Chung 6-2 6-2
Results Round 1 Doubles: Bopanna. R/Nedunchezhiyan. J beat Demoliner. M/Mektic 6-4 6-4, Monroe. N/Sitak. A beat Kravchuk. K/Youzhny. M 7-6(5) 6-3, Raja. P/Sharan. D beat Paes. L/Sa 6-4 6-4, Darcis. S/Paire. B beat Myneni. S/Ramanathan 6-4 0-6 10-8, Duran. G/Molteni. A beat Brunstrom. J/Siljestrom. A 7-5 7-6(5)