It was the maiden Challenger singles title, on his 27th birthday, for Saketh, who had asserted his big game by winning the mixed doubles gold medal with Sania Mirza and the doubles silver with Sanam Singh at the recent Asian Games in Incheon.
The title was worth 80 ATP points and $7200. Interestingly, he had accumulated only 84 ATP points in singles from 13 tournaments for his current ranking of 451.
Saketh will be ranked close to the top-300, behind Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri and R. Ramkumar, when the new rankings are announced on Monday.
“I am very happy with the title. It was my first final in a Challenger. In fact, it was my first semifinal also here. It feels great to beat a good player and win the title. Hopefully, it is just the beginning of big things to come,” said Saketh.
It has been a brilliant season for Saketh as he made a strong Davis Cup debut against Chinese Taipei, winning the crucial doubles with Rohan Bopanna.
Though he was dropped for the tie against Serbia in Bangalore to make way for Leander Paes, Saketh came back strongly into the Indian team for the Asian Games.
Saketh endured a tough time earlier in the season when he had to battle a debilitating viral infection that hampered his tennis for a few weeks.
Having come back from a shoulder surgery during his collegiate career in the US, Saketh had the equanimity to pull through the hard phase.
“I served well and put pressure on him with my returns. I could have won that second set also, but missed the chances when he was 0-40 at 5-5. But, after losing that set in the tie-break, I was able to get the break in the fourth game of the third set. I had to play really good to consolidate that break,” said Saketh, who fired 12 aces in the match.
This was the second loss for 118th-ranked Nedovyesov in a Challenger final in India this season, after he had lost to Somdev Devvarman in the $100,000 Delhi Open final in February.
Saketh will look to continue in the same fashion in the next Challenger at Pune which starts on Monday. He will open his campaign against Fabrice Martin of France.