Indian tennis superstar Leander Paes’ lowly ranking of 61 has prevented him from playing at the ongoing Toronto Masters this week but the evergreen icon is getting some much-needed confidence-boosting wins at the Thindown Challenger in Biella, Italy. With just a week to go before he makes his record seventh appearance at the Olympics, the 18-time Grand Slam champion has reached the final of this clay tournament alongside Andre Begemann of Germany.
The third-seeded Indo-German combine upset the second seeds James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald, 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Friday.
They will meet the top seeds Andrej Martin and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo in the summit clash. The Slovakian-Chilean duo outlasted the Russian team of Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 1-6, 10-6 in the day’s other semi-final.
Divij Sharan-Purav Raja in Segovia Challenger final
Paes is not the only one flying the Indian Tricolour high in the Challenger circuit this week. The all-Indian pair of Divij Sharan and Purav Raja continues to impress as they made the final of the Segovia Challenger which is being played on hardcourts.
The third seeds toppled the second-seeded Swedish duo of Johan Brunstrom and Andreas Siljestrom, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the last-four clash. They will now take on the unseeded Spanish-Japanese team of Joaquin Munoz-Hernandez and Akira Santillan.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in semis of Lexington Challenger
Also doing well this week is another all-Indian partnership of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan who are playing at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, USA. The unseeded Indians prevailed 6-4, 6-2 over the second seeds Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa to enter the semi-finals.
Up next for them are the fourth seeds Luke Saville and Jordan Thompson of Australia.
In singles, Ramanathan, who reached his career-high ranking of 196th this week, went down fighting 6(4)-7, 6-4, 4-6 to World No. 207 Andrew Whittington in the second round.