Saturday, June 15, 2024

ITF Kalaburagi Open: Ramkumar lone Indian in fray, reaches singles semis

Ramkumar Ramanathan was the lone Indian left in the fray in the last-four stage in the men’s singles section at the ITF Kalaburagi Open here on Friday. In the quarterfinals played at the Chandrashekhar Patil Stadium in Kalaburagi on Friday, the fifth seed quelled the challenge of giant-killer Manish Sureshkumar 7-5, 6-0 to make it to the semifinals.

In the other quarterfinal matches of the day, Aryan Shah went down fighting to Ryotaro Taguchi of Japan 3-6, 2-6 while sixth seed Rishab Agarwal succumbed to second seed Matsuda Ryuki of Japan 0-6, 4-6.

In a one-sided affair seventh seed David Pichler of Austria saw the back of Japanese Seita Watanabe with a 6-0, 6-0 win in the last quarterfinal tie.

A little later Matsuda and Taguchi advanced to the finals in the doubles after defeating the Indian pair of Rishab Agarwal and Bharath Nishok Kumaran 7-6 (4), 6-2.

In the final, they will clash with the Austrian-Indian pair of David Pichler and Nitin Kumar Sinha who brushed past the duo of Adil Kalyanpur and Sidharth Rawat 6-3, 6-2.

Ramkumar, who has recently won two ITF 25K titles in as many months, found an able opponent in his Chennai citymate, at least as far as the first set was concerned. Both the players held their respective serves until the seventh game when Manish broke Ramakumar’s serve to nose ahead 5-3. In a sudden change of form, Manish committed three unforced errors which gave his senior counterpart a chance to not only come back in the match but strike his true form.

Ramkumar since then won 10 games in a row, including six in the second set to overpower Manish. The striking feature of Ramkuamar’s game was his big serve and a strong forehand which further dented Manish’s feeble chances of a comeback.

Aryan Shah showed much promise when he matched shot for shot against his Japanese rival. After he lost serve in the 4th game, Aryan broke his opponent’s serve in the very next game. However, he was broken back in the sixth game, and capitalising on the errors committed by Aryan, Taguchi won the first set 6-3. Continuing in the same form the Japanese earned an early break in the very first game and one more in the seventh game before serving out for the match.

Results (Indians unless mentioned, seeding in parenthesis):

Men’s singles (quarterfinals): 7-David Pichler (AUT) bt Seita Watanabe (JPN) 6-0, 6-0; 5-Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Manish Sureshkumar 7-5,6-0; Ryotaro Taguchi (JPN) bt Q-Aryan Shah 6-3, 6-2; 2-Matsuda Ryuki (JPN) bt 6-Rishab Agarwal 6-0, 6-4.

Doubles (Semifinals): Ryuki Matsuda (JPN)/Ryotaro Taguchi (JPN) bt Rishab Agarwal/Bharath Nishok Kumaran 7-6(4), 6-2; 2-David Pichler (AUT)/Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Adil Kalyanpur/Sidharth Rawat 6-3, 6-2.

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