Indian duo of Sharan and Balaji storm into Prostejov Challenger Final in Czech Republic
By Saurabh Singh | AITA
The all Indian pairing of Divij Sharan and N. Sriram Balaji have stormed into the finals of the Prostejov ATP Challenger Tour event after defeating their Czech opponents David Poljak and Dalibor Svrcina in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, today.
With this win, Sharan and Balaji become the first Indian players to have made it to the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event after COVID-19 pandemic had put a halt to professional tennis since March 2020.
The Indians – Sharan, aged 34, and Balaji, 30 – came out and played strong tennis to pocket the first set 6-1 in a commanding fashion...
Czech duo, who entered the home Open with a wild card, did not, however, care much about their lack of experience, with average age of 20.5, or their ATP Tour rankings (Poljak – 432nd in doubles and Svrcina – 963rd) and tried to resist the much higher ranked Indians (Sharan – 58th and Balaji – 144th).
By the end of the second set, the Indian team brought in all of their experience to avoid going into the third and deciding set, as they sealed it, 7-5, and also booked a spot in the final.
During the semi-finals tie, the Indians managed to win seven out of 13 break points whilst the Czechs could only manage to convert 50% of their six service break attempts.
Sharan and Balaji also enjoyed superior first serve percentage (58 to 39) and second serve winning percentage (60 to 46) compared to their opponents.
In the tournament finale, Sharan-Balaji duo will face the winners of second semi-finals featuring the fourth seeded Dutch pairing of Sander Arends and David Pel against Czech combination of Zdenek Kolar and Lukas Rosol.
The final will be played tomorrow, on Friday, after the singles semi-finals.