ITF Lucknow: Wildcard Vishwakarma storms into quarter-finals
India No 6 serves a double bagel to Frenchman Arthur Weber; Sasikumar Mukund also through to last-eight
Siddharth Vishwakarma, the No 6 Indian in singles, didn't play serious tennis for almost six years after trying his hand at the game for about four-five years as he found the sport too expensive. Destiny, however, had other plans for him.
After taking up the sport professionally again in 2013, Vishwakarma didn’t look back and went on the Asian Tennis Tour twice. He won the Fenesta Nationals along with eight other domestic tournaments and also reached the semi-finals of the ITF Delhi leg in 2022.
“If I didn’t have the support of the right people, I would not have continued playing tennis. I stopped playing for almost eight years as I was unable to afford it. Though I kept hitting a few balls every day just for my fitness, I never thought of playing serious sport again unless I won the junior title in the state then,” said Vishwakarma, who made it to the quarter-finals of the Lucknow leg of ITF $25K Men’s Open here on Thursday with a straight-set win over France’s Arthur Weber.
“First, it was Rajesh Mishra at the Prabhu Narain Union (PNU) Club in Varanasi, and now Ratan Sharma sir who has been a great help to me,” said Vishwakarma, who captured vital four ATP points after his win.
“I don’t bother about my opponent and remain focussed on my game plan when I come to the court. Even today, I wanted to play aggressive tennis and it paid rich dividends in the end.”
Wildcard Vishwakarma broke ATP 504-ranked Weber, seeded sixth here, in the very first game. He hit some fierce forehand volleys and made his opponent run across the court.
The trend continued in the third and fifth games before the Indian took the first set at 6-0 after winning on a deuce in the ninth game. Things didn’t change one bit as Vishwakarma handed Weber another bagel to close out the match in just 55 minutes.
India No 3 Sasikumar Mukund made it to the quarter-finals, brushing aside compatriot and qualifier Rishabh Agarwal 6-2, 7-6. Third-seeded Evgeny Donskoy of Russia looked in a fine touch to beat India’s Manish Sureshkumar 6-2, 7-5, before the second seed American Oliver Crawford with his eye-catching footwork and an explosive game knocked out Siddharth Rawat 6-1, 6-2 in straight sets.
Davis Cupper and India No 11 Karan Singh notched up the best win of Day 3 as he came back from a set down to beat Thailand’s Palaphoom Kovapitukted 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a marathon battle that lasted a little over two hours.
Earlier, Vietnamese top seed Nam Hoang Ly had to break a sweat to defeat Australian Blake Ellis 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, but it was heartbreak for Delhi leg runner-up Yusuke Takahashi as he bowed out against Ukrainian Eric Vanshelboim. The Japanese took the first set 6-3, before losing the next two 2-6, 2-6.