Indian tennis doubles players Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja’s Tata Open Maharashtra campaign came to a close following a 6-7 (3-7), 4-6 defeat to Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Belarus’ Andrei Vasilevski in their semi-final match on Saturday.
After a flurry of eliminations in both the singles and doubles competiton saw the Indian contingent gradually whittled down over the course of the Tata Open Maharashtra, the Ramanathan-Raja duo were the last men standing among the local entrants, as they headed into the semi-finals.
Having won the final the last time the Indian tennis players were paired up in Pune — for the 2019 Pune Challenger — the duo were hoping for a repeat performance at the Tata Open Maharashtra.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav’s Raja’s fightback falls short
The visitors had other plans though, which they followed through by ensuring a perfect start to the opening set, with Andrei Vasilelvski holding serve for his side, and then proceeding to break Ramkumar Ramanathan's service in the following game.
While this two-point deficit put the Indian duo on the backfoot and playing catch-up, they held their serve, as well as their nerve, over the next six games before breaking their opponents and subsequently equalising the score at 5-5.
With neither side breaking again, the score reached 6-6 to set up a tie-breaker.
Unfortunately for the Indian partnership, they got broken twice en route to a 3-7 result in the tie-breaker.
Second time unlucky
The second set got off to a much more closely-fought competition, with both sides holding serve for the first nine games, as Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja did their best to set up a third set.
However, they turned out to be the ones to get broken first, and yet another masterful service game from Andrei Valsilevski after that delivered the finishing blow to the Indian tennis pair's hopes.
Bengaluru Tennis Open next
The victors will now face off against Andre Goransson of Sweden and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia in the Tata Open Maharashtra final on Sunday.
For Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja, however, there will be no respite, for they will be among the many Indian tennis players who will be shuttling down south to Karnataka for the Bengaluru Tennis Open, which gets underway from Monday, February 10.