Pro Tennis League: Ramkumar, Zeeshan Ali star as Delhi Cruasders make winning start

DMG Delhi Crusaders, Paramount Proec Tigers, Meerut Stag Babloat Yoddhas and Gurgaon Sapphires registered victories on an action-packed opening day of the fourth season of the Pro Tennis League.

To be played over four days at the RK Khanna Stadium here, the likes of two-time defending national tennis Niki Poonacha, former World No. 42 Malek Jaziri and former India No. 1 Ramkumar Ramanathan produced some scintillating tennis in a smash-and-grab format of tennis.

In the first leg, played in a round-robin format, DMG Delhi Crusaders triumphed over Lucknow Aviators (100-85); Paramount Proec Tigers beat Bangalore Challengers (104-81); 2018 champions Meerut Stag Babloat Yoddhas swept aside Jodhpur Sankara (101-84) and Gurgaon Sapphires produced a sensational comeback to beat Proveri Super Smashers (95-90).

In the day matches, DMG Delhi Crusaders and Paramount Proec Tigers had no trouble in getting past Lucknow Aviators and Bangalore Challengers respectively.

With all ties comprising nine matches and race to a collective 185 points, Lucknow Aviators remained close with DMG Delhi Crusaders for four matches before Niki Poonacha’s convincing 19-11 win over Siddharth Vishwakarma bolstered their advantage by a massive eight points.

The next match, in men’s doubles, went N. Sriram Balaji and Adil Kalyanpur’s way followed by a 15-15 tie between Poonacha/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N Sriram Balaji/Adil Kalyanpur, the organisers informed in a release on Thursday.

On the other court, Paramount Proec Tigers were even more lethal against Bangalore Challengers. They won six of nine matches with Siddharth Rawat and Farhat Aleen Qamar playing a crucial role. Zeeshan Ali, playing a match after 20 years, was also on the winning end.

In the evening set of matches, opening season’s winners Meerut Stag Babloat Yoddhas were off to a flier with wins for Denim Yadav, Ajay Malik/Vijay Sundar Prashanth, Riya Sachdeva and Kashish Bhatia. On points, they led 48-27 to go to a commanding position.

Yashaswini Panwar and Sathwika Sama broke the losing streak but won by a slender point margin.

Jodhpur Sankara’s then won both their men’s doubles matches, both featuring former Davis Cupper Divij Sharan and Parikshit Somani, to bring the deficit down which could play a role in their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

The best was saved for last with the tie between Proveri Super Smashers and Gurgaon Sapphires being decided in the men’s doubles.

Going into the final match, the 2019 champions Proveri Super Smashers led 79-76 and the onus was on VM Ranjeet and Tunisia’s Malik Jaziri to help stage a miraculous win. On the other side of the net, Manish Sureshkumar and Parv Nage were handed the task to keep the points difference to a minimum – if not winning.

In the end, though, VM Ranjeet and Malik Jaziri won by a comfortable 19-11 margin to win 95-90 and take the second spot in Group A after day one.

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