Lopez-Perez to meet Sriram Balaji

Principal Correspondent
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The triumphant Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Ramkumar Ramanathan. —Photo: M. Moorthy
The triumphant Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Ramkumar Ramanathan. —Photo: M. Moorthy

Top-seeded Enrique Lopez-Perez of Spain and N. Sriram Balaji, the third seed, entered the final of the Vasan Eye Care-ITF men’s Futures tennis championship at the Union Club here on Friday.

In the first semifinal, Lopez-Perez scripted a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win over fourth-seeded Ramkumar Ramanathan. In the other, Balaji got the better of second-seeded Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Ramkumar lost his way from a position of strength in the first set. Serving 5-3 up, he kept missing, and allowed Lopez-Perez back into the game. The Spaniard reeled off the next four games to clinch the set.

The second saw a determined Ramkumar play his heart out. At 2-2, he found himself down 0-40 on serve, but launched a stirring comeback to hold serve. From that point, Ramkumar gained ascendancy and eventually broke Lopez-Perez in the 12th game to level the match out.

It was the top seed who looked more assured in the decider. He broke Ramkumar twice to go up 5-2. However, the fourth seed did get one break back to make it 4-5. But, Lopez-Perez came up with a solid service game to close out the match.

Sriram Balaji broke Jeevan in the fifth and seventh games to go up 5-2. However, Balaji lost serve in the eighth game before holding at love in the tenth to claim the opener.

A solitary break in the sixth game was enough for Jeevan to take the second set.

In the decider, Jeevan dropped serve in the fourth game, double faulting on a breakpoint. Balaji held on to the advantage to clinch the set and match.

In the doubles final, Arun Prakash Rajagopalan and Ramkumar Ramanathan defeated Giorgio Portaluri of Italy and Lucas Renard of Sweden 6-3, 4-6, 10-6.

The results: Singles (semifinals): Enrique Lopez-Perez (Esp) bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-5, 5-7, 6-4; N. Sriram Balaji bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Doubles (final): Arun Prakash Rajagopalan & Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Giorgio Portaluri (Ita) & Lucas Renard (Swe) 6-3, 4-6, 10-6.

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