Chennai: Wild card Ramkumar Ramanathan showed plenty of spunk and fight but eventually went down to Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-3 in a nailbiting quarter-final of the Aircel ATP Chennai Open at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.
The 21-year-old ,who is doing a BA in Economics at Loyola College in Chennai, staved off four match points before succumbing to the World No.45 Bedene in a 2 hour and 18 minutes slugfest.
Ramkumar started strongly, hitting superb forehands and serving with power and precision. The set went to the tiebreak where Bedene had a chance but netted a simple forehand drop volley. A double fault opened the door for the Indian who claimed the breaker 7-5 on another error by the Briton.
In the second set, the World No.248 frittered away two breakpoints. Trailing 4-5, Ramkumar dumped a forehand into the net to give Bedene the set 6-4.
Aljaz Bedene. Pic/PTI
In the decider, the 26-year-old Londoner began strongly hitting his forehands with plenty of power and getting an extra zing to his serve. Ramkumar’s fitness began to wane and he dumped a tired forehand into the net to hand Bedene a break and a 2-0 lead. Bedene soon made it 3-0 and there was no looking back.
Ramkumar made one final surge when Bedene served for the match. He went for glory and Bedene started committing errors. However after saving four match points he had no answer to another rasping forehand by the Briton.
"Hats off to Ram. He played a great match. He has improved immensely since last year," the gracious Slovenian- born Bedene said later.
"His forehand and serve have improved and I think his stint in Spain helped his game. I hung tough after losing the first set. Luckily I was fitter in the third set as I could see Ram was tiring."
An exhausted Ramkumar blurted out: ``I gave it my all but I had nothing left in the tank. The crowd really spurred me on and I am grateful for all their support."