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ATP Newport: Ramkumar Ramanathan reaches first career semi-final; Divij Sharan, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan progress

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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194   //    20 Jul 2018, 13:52 IST

2018 Nature Valley Open Tennis Nottingham Jun 15th
Ramkumar Ramanathan

Ramkumar Ramanathan reached the first ATP semi-final of his career when he made it through to the last-four stage at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, USA on Thursday. The World No. 161 defeated the 98th ranked Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour 18 minutes.

The 23-year-old produced five aces against six double faults and won 69% of his total service points. He had decent statistics on returns as well, managing to convert three out of the five break points that he got.

The Chennai player will take on World No. 123 Tim Smyczek for a place in the summit clash of this ATP 250 grasscourt event.

Ramanathan thus became the first Indian since Somdev Devvarman in 2011 to reach a semi-final on the ATP Tour. The now-retired Devvarman made it to the final in an ATP event twice -- first at Chennai in 2009 and then at Johannesburg in 2011.

If Ramanathan manages to win his semi-final and the final as well, he will become the first Indian since the legendary Leander Paes to win an ATP title. Paes did it at the same venue at Newport 20 years ago.

Two Indians too progressed into the semi-finals in doubles. Divij Sharan, who was the only Indian to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, continues his impressive run on the Tour.

Sharan is seeded second at this event alongside Jackson Withrow of the USA. The two justified their billing when they beat Matthew Ebden and Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(4), 6-3. This is Sharan’s seventh semi-final on the Tour this year.

Meanwhile, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan got the better of Leander Paes in a blockbuster quarter-final involving two Indians. Nedunchezhiyan and Austin Krajicek, who have won two Challenger titles together, beat Jamie Cerretani and Paes 6-3, 7-6(3).

Purav Raja did not enjoy the same fortunes as his compatriots. The third seeded team of Raja and Ken Skupski went down fighting 6-4, 3-6, 8-10 to Jonathan Erlich and Artem Sitak in 1 hour 16 minutes.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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