ATP Pune: Jaume Munar, Steve Darcis and Michael Mmoh advance


by   |  VIEW 1862
ATP Pune: Jaume Munar, Steve Darcis and Michael Mmoh advance

The 21-year-old Jaume Munar has earned the seeds status in Pune after a great 2018 season and he seems hungry for even more in the season in front of us, kicking off the new year with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Radu Albot in an hour and 43 minutes. Both players had their chances and it was the youngster who prevailed in the crucial points, saving nine out of 10 break points and stealing rival's serve three times for straight sets victory.

Munar fends off all six break points in the opening set and he seized breaks in games four and eight for a 6-2. The Spaniard looked better and better on the court, saving two break points in the opening game and breaking in game four for a commanding lead.

Albot fought back immediately, pulling a break back in game five and saving two more break points at 3-4 to reach the tie break where he opened a 4-2 lead. Munar kept his coolness and he won five straight points to seal the breaker 7-4 and move into the second round.

Playing for the first time since 2017 Davis Cup final against France, Steve Darcis ousted the 6th seed Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes, playing better on his second serve and saving five out of seven break points to limit the damage in his games. Carballes Baena struggled to make an impact behind his initial shot and he got broken four times from five chances he offered to the Belgian to end his run in the opening round.

Darcis found his range right from the start, scoring a break in game two and fending off five break points in game seven to remain in front. Steve completed the opening set with a nice hold in game nine before a more closer battle in set number two, exchanging four breaks in the first seven games to stay locked up at 4-4.

Trailing 4-2, Darcis rattled off four straight games to cross the finish line first, breaking Roberto in games seven and nine before holding at 15 at 5-4 for the first win in 13 months. The 20-year-old Michael Mmoh earned his seventh ATP win following a 7-5 6-3 win over Prajnesh Gunneswaran in an hour and 14 minutes, dropping just nine points on serve and suffering one break of serve.

Gunneswaran couldn't defend his second serve like he would have wanted, facing five break points and giving his serve away four times to hit the exit door. Michael moved ahead already in the first game but the Indian broke back at 2-3 after a lucky net cord.

The American moved ahead again in the 11th game when Gunneswaran sent a forehand long and he held at love in the next game for a 7-5 after a service winner. Carried by this momentum, the American lost just three points on serve in set number two and he broke at love at 1-1 to make a big step towards the win.

Prajnesh sprayed another forehand error in the ninth game to suffer another break and hand the win to the youngster who will now face Darcis in the second round. First round results:

[7]Jaume Munar (ESP) vs Radu Albot (MDA) 6-2 7-6(4)
Steve Darcis (BEL) vs [6]Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3 6-4
Michael Mmoh (USA) vs [WC]Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 7-5 6-3
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) vs [8]Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 5-7 7-6(6)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-4 4-6 6-4