Britain’s Jay Clarke beaten in first final, positive rankings result
Britain’s Jay Clarke played in his first Challenger final on Saturday. The 19 year-old Briton played in the title match in Bangalore, India in what was the final week of the season at that level.
Clarke reached the final on the back of a fairly fortunate run. He defeated 5th seed Ramkumar Ramanathan in the second round in what was his only meeting with a seeded player. Wins over Ante Pavic and Tsung-Hua Yang, both player ranked lower than Clarke, followed.
Clarke played home player Sumit Nagal in the final. Nagal had beaten Clarke’s fellow Briton Brydan Klein in the second round, as well as the fancied 3rd seed Yuk Bhambri in the semi-finals.
The first two sets were shared before Nagal raced away 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. The match was significant not just because it was the first final appearance for these two at this level. Both will now move into contention for Australian Open Qualifying next season.
With Qualifying set to begin on the 10th of January, this was the last chance for both players to move into rankings that would likely see them gain direct entry.
A ranking somewhere around No.250 in the world is normally enough to see players make the cut-off, allowing some lee-way for individuals utilising protected rankings and wildcards.
Clarke will move to No.220, which will definitely see him in. Nagal will move into No.225. Nagal may yet have a chance to make it into the main draw, as he may take place in the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Play-Off.