India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan wins maiden singles tennis title at ATP Challenger tournament in Bahrain

The 27-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan has played in seven Challenger finals in all since he turned pro in 2009.

By Ubaid Parkar
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan won his maiden singles title after he defeated Evgeny Karlovskiy of the Russian Tennis Federation in the final of the ATP Challenger tournament in Manama, Bahrain on Sunday.

The inaugural Bahrain Ministry Of Interior Tennis Challenger, played on hard court, was an ATP80 event.

Seeded sixth in the tournament, the 27-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan beat the unseeded Evgeny Karlovskiy, ranked 302 in the world, 6-1, 6-4 in 68 minutes.

Ramkumar Ramanathan, the world No. 222, had lost six Challenger finals previously since he turned pro in 2009. The Chennai local last played in the finals in the Cary Challenger in July.

On his way to the final in Bahrain, Ramkumar Ramanathan beat Great Britain’s Jay Clarke in the semis, Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal in the quarters, Croatia’s Duje Ajdukovic in the second round and Ukraine’s Vladyslav Orlov in the opener. 

The other Indian singles in the Bahrain tournament were Arjun Kadhe, ousted in the qualifying round, Mukund Sasikumar and the fifth-seeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran, both losing in the opening round of 32.

Ramkumar Ramanathan also played in the doubles in Bahrain, partnering Arjun Kadhe. The fourth-seeded Indian pair lost 6-3, 1-6, 10-7 in the semi-finals to the Portuguese duo and eventual winners Nuno Borges and Francisco Cabral.

N. Sriram Balaji and Divij Sharan were the other Indian doubles pair. They too lost in the semis. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, meanwhile, paired with Portugal’s Goncalo Oliveira and were seeded second but went down in the opening round.

The tournament win is expected to boost Ramkumar Ramanathan as the top-ranked Indian tennis player. His career-high ranking has been 111, achieved in July 2018.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran is currently the leading Indian with a world ranking of 215, ahead of Sumit Nagal in 219.

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