Bangalore: Fourth seed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan had to battle hard to beat a defiant Sidharth Rawat 7-6 (6), 7-5 in two sets and moved into the pre-quarter-finals of the $10,000 Toyota ITF Open men's tennis tournament here Tuesday.
In a match marked by absorbing rallies, neither player gave any quarter to each other and kept up a steady pace while hitting strong ground strokes.
Jeevan made a tentative start in the first set and came under pressure a couple of times, but survived a break point in the fourth and sixth games before holding serve.
The two players held the serve till six-all and the set spilled into a tie-breaker.
Rawat led 4-2 in the before Jeevan made it four-all and then six-all. Jeevan clinched the issue with Rawat hitting wide and later netting a short return.
In the second set, Rawat called the shots early and broke in the second game for a 3-0 lead at which point Jeevan also needed a medical attention for blisters on the right foot.
Trailing 1-4, Jeevan made a valiant effort and kept his consistent returns in and took three games in a row with a break of serve in the seventh for four-all.
Thereafter, it was Jeevan all the way as he broke Rawat again in the 11th game and served out the set for the match.
Jeeven, the 24-year-old from Tamil Nadu who is now based in Germany, said: "I am happy with the victory and Rawat is a tough opponent. I kept the intensity and made him earn every point, but I am still figuring out how to play better in this high altitude condition where balls come off much faster also."
Meanwhile, second seed Vishnu Vardhan had an easy passage to the second round beating Bharatram Balajee 6-1, 6-2, while the sixth seed and Mysore Open finalist N. Sriram Balaji ousted Elwin Antony 6-3, 7-6(1).
The results (prefix indicates seeding, Indian unless mentioned):
Zach Itzstein (AUS) bt Kenny Bun (CAM) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; Ashwin Vijayragavan bt Gavin Van Peperzeel (AUS) 6-3, 6-4; Ajai Selvaraj bt Vishwanath Savadi 6-2, 6-3; Tejas Chaukulkar bt Manpreet Singh Chawla 6-2, 6-0; 4-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Sidharth Rawat 7-6 (6), 7-5; 5-Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan bt Kaza Vinayak Sharma 7-5, 6-3; 6-N Sriram Balaji bt Elwin Antony 6-3, 7-6 (1); Venkat Iyer bt Sagar Manjanna 6-3, 6-3; Jatin Dahiya bt Saurabh Patil 6-3, 6-1; 2-Vishnu Vardhan bt Bharatram Balajee 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles (first round): Kunal Anand / Ajai Selvaraj bt Zach Itzstein (AUS) / Francesco Vilardo (ITA) 2-6, 6-2, 10-7; Scott Puodziunas (AUS) / Gavin Van Peperzeel (AUS) bt Shahbaaz Khan / Sumeet Shinde 6-7 (5), 6-4, 10-5.
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