Gutsy effort from Rai against world number 71

Sunday, 08 January 2023

Ajeet Rai has put in another super performance but has just failed to make the main draw at the ASB Classic. A day after his victory over world number 92 Taro Daniel the 23-year-old from Taranaki took on 71st ranked Brazilian Thiago Monteiro. Rai was far from overawed and served superbly in the first set and constantly had his more vaunted opponent under pressure. Rai took the opening set in a tiebreak and had Monteiro 0-30 at 3-3 in the second. But he couldn't break and the Brazilian took the second set 6-3. Rai suffered from cramping during the match and when play was called for the day on Sunday he was serving to stay in the match at 3-5 in the deciding set and 15-15. . They resumed at Midday on Monday and the Kiwi held serve before Monteiro served out the match to complete a 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 victory over the Kiwi in 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Rai is at a career high of 466 in the ATP rankings and is projected to climb to 444 next week. He is still in the ASB Classic doubles draw as a wildcard with Finn Reynolds and they play top seeds Nicola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the first round.

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