| Rainer Schuettler of Germany in action against Julian Knowle of Austria in Chennai Monday. (PTI)
Chennai: It was a bad day for India in the Tata Open with Leander Paes and Prakash Amritraj crashing out in the first round. While fourth seeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina beat Paes 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, veteran Jiri Vacek had the measure of Prakash, playing his first match in India. It was also a day when third seeded Sjeng Schalken of The Netherlands had to pull out with a wrist injury.
Another Indian in the fray, Rohan Bopanna went down to Zeljko Krajan of Croatia, 4-6, 6-7 (3-7).
Chela took advantage of the numerous unforced errors by Paes, one of the three wild card entrants from India.
Paes made a promising start to the match breaking the Argentine in the ninth game. But lapse in concentration on the part of the Indian at crucial points helped Chela take the first set in the tie-breaker.
Paes came back strongly in the second set breaking his opponent’s serve in the second game to take comfortable 3-0 lead. But Chela resorted to long rallies and forced Paes into committing a series of unforced errors and breaking him in the fifth game.
He finally broke Paes in the 11th game and safely served out in the next to clinch the match.
Meanwhile, the 26-year old Schalken had to pull out in the last moment and was replaced by lucky loser Noam Okum of Israel, who had lost in the final qualifying round.
Schalken was joined on the sidelines by Frenchman Jerome Golmard, who pulled out early in his first round match against Spaniard Albert Portas due to a recurring back problem.
Sixth-seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany had no trouble getting past Julian Knowle of Austria 6-4, 6-1 in the first match on Centre Court.
Prakash showed glimpses of his potential before losing 2-6, 2-6 to Vacek. Though playing from the baseline, the junior Amritraj hustled his way to the net on many occasions. But finally, it was the experience and guile of Vacek that clinched the issue.
Kristian Pless of Denmark lost to Jene Rene Lisnard of France 2-6, 5-7. Sargis Sargsin of Armenia defeated Julian Varlet of France 6-1, 7-5. (Agencies)