Pune, Jan 2:
Ramkumar Ramanathan smartly altered the tactics to tame a seasoned Marcel Granollers in a tough opening round but Arjun Kadhe went down fighting at the Tata Open Maharashtra, here Tuesday.
It was Ramkumar’s first victory over Granollers, who once figured in top-20 and came into this contest with a 2-0 head-to-head record.
From the beginning, Ramkumar, ranked 132, opted for serve and volley tactics but it was Granollers who executed it better throughout.
Realising that it is not working for him, Ramkumar chose to stay on the baseline, remaining strong on his serve against his opponent, ranked 36 places above him.
The strategy worked and handed Ramkumar a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win, his first in the main draw of an ATP World Tour event in three months. The last time he won a match at this level was during the ATP Shenzen Open in September 2018.
The 24-year-old Indian fired nine aces in the one-hour and 57 minute match. He will next play fourth seed and world number 45 Malek Jaziri from Tunisia.
Kadhe, another wild card entrants, lost 5-7 6-7(6) in a very close opening round against Serbia’’s Laslo Djere, ranked 93 against a humble 392 of the local boy.
Kadhe was up 3-0 in the first set with an early break but could not capitalise.
Saketh Myneni, who entered the main draw after two gruelling qualifying matches, withdrew due to a left foot injury.
“Since yesterday morning, it was painful and I could not recover in time for the match. Hopefully it will be good in few days as this is just the beginning of the season,” Myneni said and clarified that he did not sustain injury during his second qualifying round.
Meanwhile, the top-seededpair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan outclassed US Open semi-finalist pair of Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri 6-1 6-2 in just 50 minutes.
They will now fight it out with Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, who got the better of David Marrero and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3 6-4 in 61 minutes.