Sixth seed Ramkumar Ramanathan bought an end to the run of giant-killer and local favourite Rupesh Roy in an absorbing three-set men’s singles semifinal of the National grass-court tennis here at the South Club on Friday.
In the final he will face off against the seasoned eight seed Saurav Sukul of Bengal who was at his frugal best in seeing off the challenge of the unseeded Ronak Manuja of Maharashtra in straight sets.
The women’s section saw the departure of the old guard as defending champion Rushmi Chakravarthy of Tamil Nadu surrendered without much of a fight to top seed Ankita Raina of Gujarat.
The fifth-seeded Natasha Palha of Goa showed great endurance in outlasting her young unseeded opponent Mahitha Reddy in a protracted two hour 45 minute contest stretched till the decider.
Ankita also lined herself up for a double as she entered the doubles final partnering her singles semifinal opponent — Rushmi.
Elwin Anthony and Mohammed Fariz of Tamil Nadu teamed up to lift the men’s doubles crown when they beat twins Lakshit and Chandril Sood of Uttar Pradesh in the final.
Saurav, whose previous best was reaching the semifinals of the same tournament couple of years ago, brightened the prospect of a Bengal player winning the men’s crown since Syed Fazaluddin lifted the title in 2000.
The 28-year-old Saurav showed fine court-coverage and made few errors in outplaying the much younger Ronak in a lopsided encounter. Saurav broke Ronak once in the first set to win it 6-3. He was in control of the second set where he broke Ronak twice in the third and fifth games to comfortably win the set 6-4.
The story was a bit different for 18-year-old Ramkumar, who lost the first set before making a spectacular comeback to win the next two.
The Chennai-based player who trains at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona under TNTA’s advanced player development scheme, showed great temperament and skills to get the better of his seasoned opponent.
Ramkumar lost the first set in the tie-breaker but turned it around by playing an attacking game and forcing his apparently complacent opponent into making repeated errors.
The results: Men: Singles (semifinals): Saurav Sukul (Ben) bt Ronak Manuja (Mah) 6-3, 6-4; Ramkumar Ramanathan (TN) bt Rupesh Roy (Ben) 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles (final): Elwin Anthony & Mohammed Fariz (TN) bt Lakshit Sood & Chandril Sood (UP) 7-5, 3-6, 10-3.
Women: Singles (semifinals): Ankita Raina (Guj) bt Rushmi Chakravarthy (TN) 6-1, 6-0; Natasha Palha (Goa) bt Mahitha D. Reddy (AP) 6-7(7-3), 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles (semifinals): Rushmi Chakravarthy & Ankita Raina bt Sagarika Phadke & Nupur Kaul (Mah) 6-1, 6-0.
Keywords: National grass-court tennis