Maharashtra Open 2018: Marin Cilic wins against a spirited Ramkumar Ramanathan to enter the quarterfinal
Ramanathan's exit ends India's campaign in the singles draw of the event.
The toughest game of the Tata Maharashtra Open 2018 in Pune definitely fell in the young and aspiring hands of Ramkumar Ramanathan, who faced the top seed, Marin Cilic, in an attempt to book a place in the quarterfinal of the ATP 250 event.
The hard-hitting Croat won in straight sets to a scoreline of 6-4 6-3.
The first game of the match probably was the fastest game of the tournament, where Cilic displayed sheer serving class to get on board with ease. Ramanathan was put under pressure instantly and was taken to deuce in his first service game. However, the youngster did not give in to the support and riding on the back of rapturous crowd support, held on to his serve.
Cilic's monstrous forehand looked as menacing as ever, and it quickly earned him a double break point in the fourth game. He needed just one of those to lead 3-1 in the first set.
The Indian player did not lose his spirit, though, and neither did his home crowd lose its voice. He scraped and scathed through the remainder of his games and held on to his serve with everything. His opponent, on the other hand, continued to effuse sheer class and ran through his service games with power and panache.
However, Ramanathan slowly settled into the pace of the game and felt comfortable with the overwhelming surroundings. More first serve were fired in, the angles on his shots were steeper and his confidence was palpable in the air.
This persistence paid off in a moment of magic for the youngster, and he broke the top seed while the latter was serving for the set. Cilic struggled to get his first serve in and gave a breakpoint to the homeboy, who gobbled it up like cherry in his only attempt.
This woke up the beast inside the Croat, who roared onto the court in the very next game and broke on love to take the game and the set, 6-4.
The second set started with confident service holds by both the players. The crowd was getting into the action on the court while waiting in anticipation for the next big moment of the game.
Cilic had a little bit of trouble to hold his next service game but managed to do it at a tight scoreline of 40-30. He broke in the very next game to lead 3-1, when Ramanathan double-faulted at break point.
Ramanathan fought tooth and nail while giving everything he could to get the break back, and had half a chance of doing that in the seventh game of the set, where he lead 0-30. However, Cilic won four straight points on serve to retain his dominant position in the game at 5-2.
The 6-foot 6-inch athlete was made to serve for the match by his opponent, who did not give in to another break and held on with vigour. At 5-3, Cilic looked to win his first contest of the season in straight sets.
He did it with proficiency, while entering the quarterfinal of the tournament with the victory. With Ramanathan's defeat, India's campaign ends in the singles' draw of the event.