Ramkumar-Vijay pair clinches Pune Challenger trophy

Ramkumar-Vijay pair clinches Pune Challenger trophy

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Pune, Nov 25:

India’s  Ramkumar Ramanathan stood out with individual brilliance to capture his  maiden doubles title on the ATP Challenger circuit, clinching the  KPIT-MSLTA doubles trophy with compatriot Vijay Sundar Prashanth, here  Saturday.

A fired-up Ramkumar played solid from the baseline and brought in a  lot of energy as the unseeded Indian pair edged past the third seeded  Taipei pair of Tsung-Hua Yang and Cheng-Peng Hsieh 7-6(3,) 6-7(5), 10-7 in  a pulsating final.

Ramkumar literally carried the match on his shoulders with his partner slightly off colour today.

Ramkumar had three runner-up finishes before on the Challenger circuit with different partners.

For Vijay, it is his second title, having won his first trophy with  compatriot Saketh Myneni last year in October at Ho Chi Minh City,  Vietnam.

Ramkumar and Vijay had lost to the same Taipei pair in the opening round of the Kaohsiung Challenger in September this year.

It is the third time that an Indian pair has won the doubles title in five editions at the Pune Challenger.

Ramkumar, ranked 130 in the singles chart, used his usual singles  game from the baseline while Vijay finished the points with volleys at the net.

Often Ramkumar was locked in gripping rallies with Yang while Vijay waited to pounce on the returns to finish the point.

Yet, there were chinks in their game with Vijay lacking sting in  his serve while an aggressive Ramkumar, while going for broke, making a  lot of unforced errors.

After losing serve in the fifth game the Indians broke back  immediately. There was no break of serve after that and the set was  decided via tie-breaker.

Hsieh served a double fault at 2-3 and Ramkumar found winner on the  next point to take a crucial 5-2 lead. Yang netted a return on  Ramkumar’s serve to hand Indians their first set point and Ramkumar  converted it with a service return winner.

Vijay dropped serve in the fourth game in the second set and soon the Indians were down 1-4.

They broke Yang in the ninth when Hsieh missed an easy out away  volley. Ramkumar served out the next game at love to make it 5-5. Again a  tie-breaker was forced and they were up 3-0 but the two pairs were soon  locked 4-4 when Vijay and Ramkumar made two errors to hand two set  points to the Taipei players.

Yang and Hsieh converted the second chance to stretch the match to the Super Tie Breaker.

From 4-4, the Indians pulled away with three straight points.  However, three consecutive errors from Vijay meant that it was level  again at 7-7. From there on unforced errors from the Taipei boys and two  string services from Ramkumar sealed the match for the home players.

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