Kolkata Open: Ramkumar Ramanathan stuns Somdev Devvarman
Continuing to make giant strides, Indian youngster Ramkumar Ramanathan on Tuesday stunned country's number one men's singles player and fourth seed Somdev Devvarman in the USD 50,000 Kolkata Open at the Bengal Tennis Association courts here today.
Kolkata: Continuing to make giant strides, Indian youngster Ramkumar Ramanathan on Tuesday stunned country's number one men's singles player and fourth seed Somdev Devvarman in the USD 50,000 Kolkata Open at the Bengal Tennis Association courts here today.
The 20-year-old, who has been levelled as the face to watch out for, showed nerves of steel to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat en route to the last 16 stage with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Devvarman, who won Delhi Open two days ago.
It was in the same round and by the identical margin, that the youngster had stunned Devvarman in the last year's Chennai Open to lead 2-1 head to head.
"He won once and then I won (last year), and this year I won, hope there's many more in store," the curly-haired, 6' 2" lad said dedicating his win to his father, coach Joan Balcells.
On his shocking loss, Devvarman said: "I came here late Sunday night, there's little time to rest. But no excuses. After all, I was 4-1 up. There's no point over thinking these games. At no point did I think the game was slipping away. Usually I'm quite good at closing out such games but it didn't happen. He's a good player."
Earlier on the same court, Delhi Open runner-up Yuki Bhambri got some medical attention before storming past an error-prone Enrique Lopez-Perez of Spain 6-2 6-2.
Ramkumar will face Serbia's Miki Jankovic, while Bhambri will take on sixth seed Radu Albot of Moldova in the pre-quarters as the Indian duo are headed for a possible semifinal clash.
Taipei's Ti Chen produced another upset of the day when he ousted Luke Saville of Australia 6-3 3-6 6-2.
In the battle tipped to be between the 'present' and the 'future' of Indian tennis, Devvarman who won USD 100,000 Delhi Open on Sunday, cruised to the first set lead breaking the youngster in the ninth game.
But Ramkumar kept shouting and screaming for every point that he won and was not there to give up easily.
Breaking Devvarman in the second game, Ramkumar fought his way back to take the match into the deciding third set.
Devvarman was leading 3-0 after breaking Ramkumar in the second game and was 4-1 up when the Tamil Nadu youngster went on to win five games in a row to settle the issue in two hour and 19 minutes.
Ramkumar touches the court every time he goes for a serve as he terms it "a ritual" and also carries a book.
"I follow this, what more can I say... I thank the Almighty," he said.
Such was his on court presence and brilliant use of the court width that Devvarman faltered while going for an easy drop shot in front of the net to hand a 5-4 lead to Ramkumar, who did not look back from there.
"I knew I needed to step up and have to take risks as Devvarman's a fine player and good at counter punching. At the end, the attitude paid off," Ramkumar said.
From being under top 800 two years ago, the Indian youngster has made rapid strides as he ended 2013 ranked 526 and is currently 267th ranked to be India No 2 behind 155th ranked Devvarman.
Asked about his target he said: "I just need to keep improving and take match by match. I still have to improve my net game. I need to train more in Spain."
Devvarman overcame the disappointment by making the quarters in the doubles with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan who beat second seed Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh 2-6 6-2 10-5.
"He (Jeevan) is my good friend and asked me to play the doubles. I'm a singles player, it's just like fun for me," Devvarman said.