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India’s Niki Poonacha, partner win from 0-9 down in match tie-break in Cordenons Challenger

It will go down in the records as one of the most improbable victories. The ATP Challenger Tour has in fact put up a reel on Instagram, with the headline, “Greatest come back of all time?!”

The video captures all 11 points for India’s Niki Poonacha and his partner Adam Taylor of Australia when they saved nine match points on the trot from 0-9 in the super tie-break against Roman Burruchaga and Heman Casanova of Argentina, for a 2-6, 7-6(6), [11-9] victory. It was in the doubles pre-quarterfinals of the €73,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Cordenons, Italy, on Wednesday.

When contacted, two-time national champion Niki was prompt with his response, in capturing the essence of the nerve-wracking exercise.

“Saving nine match points is tough. But, saving nine match points in a row is impossible. Well, it is possible now!”, said Niki, quite happy to be part of the record.

There were many uncharitable remarks on Instagram, calling it as a fixed match.

“Our opponents played well and wanted to win. That is how they got to 9-0. Guess, they lowered their guard and after a few points, pressure kicked in and we played well. My partner especially played really sharp at the net in those moments. Definitely, we were lucky”, summed up Niki.

When Niki and Adam had their first match point at 11-10 in the super tie-break, a volley from the opponents hit the tape of the net. It was hard to execute such a fine shot, if the intention was to fix it!

“It was a very lucky day. It proved that anything can happen in tennis. And that, it is important not to slow down. Or think that it is done, till it is actually done. We have to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and stay focused from the start”, observed Niki.

Even as he was pleased about his doubles game getting better, particularly after such a momentous win, Niki felt confident that he was improving to be a regular on the Challenger Tour, playing more singles matches in the main draw.

“I can do well in singles. In fact, I am improving in both singles and doubles. I want to play consistently both in singles and doubles at the Challenger level”, Niki signed off.

Irrespective of whatever he achieves henceforth, Niki is already part of a historic feat in tennis.

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