Ramkumar sets up second round clash with world No. 6 Marin Cilic in inaugural Maharashtra Open

Coming into the season-opening ATP 250 tournament with some memorable wins in 2017, the 148th ranked Ramkumar prevailed 7-6(4) 6-2 over Carballes Baena, ranked 106th in the world.

Published: 01st January 2018 10:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2018 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan India plays a shot during a match during Maharashtra Open 2018 in Pune on Monday. | PTI


PUNE: Making a stupendous start to the fresh season, Ramkumar Ramanathan scalped higher-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena to set up a second-round clash with tournament-favourite Marin Cilic at the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra, here tonight.

Coming into the season-opening ATP 250 tournament with some memorable wins in 2017, the 148th-ranked Ramkumar prevailed 7-6(4) 6-2 over Carballes Baena, placed 42 places above him.

The Indian will now take on world number six Cilic, who had ended a runner-up to Roger Federer at the Wimbledon championships. While Cilic will be the outright favourite in the next match, Ramkumar had a confidence-boosting win over world number eight Dominic Thiem at Antalya Open last season.

"I have lot of respect for him, I am going to give my best. I want to present a good fight before the home crowd. Whatever happens, happens. What you can expect from me is good fight from first point to last," said Ramkumar.

"I felt comfortable coming onto the net. I did whatever I could. There is still a long way to go. Last year I was doing lot of serve and volley, the courts here are fast so why not. I am going to stick to it. Whatever works on a day," he said when asked about his latest strategy to adopt serve and volley.

The 23-year-old Indian youngster looked in control of his game and the match even as he missed a few opportunities to put the Spaniard under pressure early in the contest. At 3-2, he could have broken his rival and nose ahead but did not convert the chance.

Serving well, he closed the ninth game at love with an ace to take a 5-4 lead but Carballes Baena was up to the task as he too served at love to make it 5-5.

Both Ramkumar and Baena mostly stayed at the baseline, relying on their solid forehands. The Indian's feeble backhand slices meant that the Spanish player managed to stretch the set to the tie-breaker.

Carballes Baena had realised this weakness in his opponent and continued to spray the balls on the left side of Ramkumar but the Indian still found a way to not fall in the trap.

In the beginning of the set second set, Carballes Baena served a double fault at decue and hit a forehand wide on the breakpoint to let Ramkumar seize the initiative. With two strong service games, Ramkumar opened up a 3-1 lead.

Ramkumar had a breakpoint in the fifth game as well but the Spaniard saved that. However, he did not squander the chance in the seventh game and cruised to the win. He closed the match with an ace.

The biggest upset of the day was Spanish qualifier Ricardo Ojeda Lara's win over sixth seed Czech Jiri Vesely.

Lara, ranked as low as 198 shocked the world number 68 with a 6-3 7-6(5) scoreline. He will now clash with the winner of the match between qualifiers Sumit Nagal and Ilya Ivashka.

Seventh seed Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin quelled a late challenge from Moldova's Radu Albot for a 6-2 7-6 (4) win in his opening round.

In a one-sided match, world no. 85 Marton Fucsovics defeated Nicolas Kicker for the loss of just three games to set up a clash against fourth seed Frenchman Benoit Paire.

In the doubles, two Indian pairs were in action but both bowed after winning their first sets.

Wild card entrants Vishnu Vardhan and N Sriram Balaji lost 6-3 6-7(8) 6-10 to the Canadian-American pair of Adil Shamasdin and Neal Skupski.

Local boy Arjun Kadhe and Paire lost 6-1 5-7 7-10 to second seeds Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tennis news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp