ATP Newport: Ramkumar Ramanathan becomes first Indian since 2011 to reach final of a ATP tour event
After an eye-catching performance in the quarters, it was Ramkumar Ramanathan's repeat stellar effort that has taken him to the final of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport. This time his prey was the 48-ranked Tim Smyczek, whom he beat comfortably: 6-4, 7-5.
Statistically speaking, there were no major differences between the two players. The first serve percentage of both the players was 69% but it was the win on the second serves that proved to be an important factor. Ramanathan was able to capitalize on the weak second serves of Smyczek to punish him with some bold winners.
Ramanathan ended up having 62% wins on the second serve while Smyczek could manage only 41%. The number of break points won by the 23-year Indian sensation was also slightly higher than his higher-ranked opponent. He won four of them as against Smyczek's two. The total points won by Ramanathan stood at 78 at the end of the match.
His next opponent is Steve Johnson who has been in great form in this tournament. His sailing has been very smooth and in the semi-final match against Marcel Granollers, he did not even face a break point. Johnson, who would start as the favorite in the next match, will be wary of the threat posed by the young Ramanathan.
Newport has been a happy hunting ground for Indians over the years. Vijay Amritraj won here in 1976, 1980 and 1984 and Leander Paes also had won a singles title in 1998. 20 years later, Ramanathan would be looking to repeat the performances of past masters, which would certainly propel him to the very helm of Indian tennis.
Somdev Devvarman was the last Indian to make it to the singles final on an ATP tournament in 2011. He lost to this year's Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson in Johannesburg. Will Ramanathan be able to make history again?