Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja made their way into the doubles quarter-final of the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra with hard-fought yet convincing 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 victory against compatriot Sumit Nagal and his Partner Egor Gerasimov of Belarus at Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Wednesday.
The Indian rising star Nagal, who was included into doubles the main draw following withdrawal of German pair Peter Gojowczyk- Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, could not capitalise on the opportunity. After winning the first in the tie-breaker Ramanathan-Raja came strongly into the next set which saw them dominating and wrapping it up 6-3 easily as well as the match in straight sets. The duo will now face the stiff challenge of India's Leander Paes on Thursday.
Eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion Paes, playing alongside Australian Matthew Ebden beat compatriot Divij Sharan and his partner Artem Sitak 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in the doubles opening round match Tuesday.
Earlier in the singles round-of-32, Sasikumar Mukund dished out a gritty performance before going down against the Japanese Taro Daniel. The 23-year-old Indian youngster, who was handed a wild-card entry during his third appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra, made strong comeback into the second set before losing the first 6-2.
However, despite putting a solid performance in the second set that saw Daniel struggling, Mukund went onto lose 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) it in the thrilling tie-breaker. “Making a main draw debut in Pune is a very special for me. Playing here has given me experience of playing in front of the crowd. I got broken too early in the sets. I had a chance with five all. It’s not because of that one break point why I am sitting here. It was because of all the points I played,” said Mukund, who played in the qualifying round in the last two editions of India’s premier ATP 250 event, which is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, in the doubles round-of-16 match, Robin Haase of Netherlands and Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt played to their had to work hard in their opening round match against Dutch pair of Sander Arends and David Pel which went into tie-breaker. However, top-seeded pair of Haase-Lindstedt somehow managed to comeback in the decider and completed 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 10-8 win.