Ramkumar Ramanathan storms into last eight at Chennai Open
The 21-year-old overcame Russian lucky loser Alexander Kudryavtsev 3-6 6-4 6-4 in a one-hour, 50-minute marathon to move into the last eight of the ATP Aircel Chennai Open at Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium
Chennai: Local lad Ramkumar Ramanathan is in elite company. The 21-year-old overcame Russian lucky loser Alexander Kudryavtsev 3-6 6-4 6-4 in a one-hour, 50-minute marathon to move into the last eight of the ATP Aircel Chennai Open at Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium yesterday. Ramanathan is the fourth Indian to make it to the last eight of this event.
India's Ramkumar Ramanathan celebrates his win over Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev at the ATP Chennai Open in Chennai yesterday. Pic/PTI
Leander Paes (semi-finals, 1998), Somdev Devvarman (finalist, 2009) and Yuki Bhambri (quarter-finalist, 2014) are the three other players to have got past the Round of 16. The youngster served with power, clocking deliveries at 199 kph. He also outmaneuvered the Russian as he hit topspin forehands into the corners and showed hustle as he retrieved some difficult shots.
However, in the early going it was all Kudryavtsev, who has played in India twice before on the Challenger circuit. The 30-year-old from St Petersburg and ranked 126 dominated play with his serves and forehands. He especially used the serve well in the ad court, often hitting the paint.
The Indian, ranked No 248, started playing more solid tennis in the second set. He ran down a drop volley and sent a wonderful lob over the hapless Russian. "Yes, that was a very important point as it helped me break his serve in the second set. I hit a good lob and he challenged the call but I am glad I won the point. The break turned the tide in my favour," said the jubilant Chennaiite.
If the crowd helped Ramkumar they distracted the Russian. They kept yelling me between first and second serves while he was preparing to serve. Kudryavtsev complained to the umpire, who had to make several appeals.