Ramkumar Ramanathan saved six set points in the second set
Ramkumar Ramanathan saved six set points in the second set

Ramkumar into Tata Open main draw

The Chennai-based Ramkumar, who came as a wildcard, put up a sensational show in the second and final round of qualifiers, securing a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Italian.

PUNE: Ramkumar Ramanathan posted a straight-set victory against Mattia Bellucci at the Balewadi Stadium here on Sunday to enter the singles main draw at the Tata Open Maharashtra.

The Chennai-based Ramkumar, who came as a wildcard, put up a sensational show in the second and final round of qualifiers, securing a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Italian. He remarkably saved as many as six set points in the second set to overcome Bellucci. Having cleared the first two hurdles, the 28-year-old Ramkumar became the fourth Indian to make it to the singles main draw of South Asia’s only ATP 250 event.

India No.1 Mukund Sasikumar, Sumit Nagal and the 15-year-old Manas Dhamne, all of whom were handed wildcards, are the other players from the country to compete in the singles main draw. Meanwhile, in another qualifying match, Yuki Bhambri’s challenge came to an end after he suffered a 1-6, 4-6 loss at the hands of Elias Ymer of Sweden.

Maximilian Marterer from Germany and Flavio Cobolli of Italy were the other two players to progress to the tournament proper. While Marterer defeated Nikola Milojevic 6-2, 6-3, Cobolli got the better of Zdenek Kolar by a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline.

Indians will have to punch above their weight in singles

The Indian singles players, who needed either wildcard entries or came through the qualifying route to make it to the main draw that begins on Monday, will have to play out of their skin to go deep in the event.

The Indians have done well in doubles, going even the full distance in the previous editions, but no singles player from the country has gone beyond the second round at the Tata Open. Ramkumar and Sumit, on their day, can fight hard against the top players, but stitching together such performances is what is required at this level.

Their singles rankings are well beyond the direct entry mark, and hence, the organiser handed wildcards to Mukund, Sumit and Manas. Sumit will need to pull off something special if he has to extend his stay beyond the first round as he will be up against World No.54 Filip Krajinovic from Serbia.

Mukund will lock horns with Cobolli and if he clears the first round, he will next clash with second seed and World No.17 Botic Van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands. Ramkumar will cross swords with Pedro Martinez of Spain while Manas will take on American Michael Mmoh in other first round matches.

In doubles, there will be a lot of Indian interest with a number of players competing. Defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar will be playing with different partners this time and are on a collision course in the second round, provided they clear their respective opening hurdles.

RESULTS: Second qualifying round: Mattia Bellucci lost to Ramkumar Ramanathan 3-6, 5-7; Elias Ymer bt Yuki Bhambri 6-1, 6-4; Maximilian Marterer bt Nikola Milojevic 6-2, 6-3; Zdenek Kolar lost to Flavio Cobolli 4-6, 4-6

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