Ramkumar makes Eckental Challenger semis in season’s finest present

Eckental (Germany), November 6

His net game looking much-improved, India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan stormed into the singles semifinals of the Eckental Challenger with a ruthless win over fourth seed Evgeny Donskoy, here on Friday.

The unseeded Indian trounced the Russian 6-2 6-1 in just 57 minutes as he fired 11 aces during the quarterfinal of the Euro 88,520 indoor event.

The 35 points that Ramkumar has assured himself by reaching the last-four will push him back into top-200. He is currently ranked 206.

It is Ramkumar’s best performance of the season. He had earlier reached the Bangkok Challenger quarterfinals in January. He resumed competitive tennis last month after a long coronavirus-forced break.

While his net game fetched him a lot of points, an off-colour Donskoy’s unending errors only made it easy for Ramkumar.

It is Ramkumar’s first win over Donskoy, ranked 120. The last time they met in 2015 Karshi Challenger, the Indian had lost.

Ramkumar broke Donskoy in the fifth game when his rival netted a return, opening up a mini lead. It became 4-2 in Ramkumar’s favour when Donskoy’s backhand return crashed into the net.

A backhand volley winner at 30-all on Donskoy’s serve gave Ramkumar another breakpoint. The Russian only helped the Indian by serving a double fault on the breakpoint.

Ramkumar came out to serve for the set and began with a couple of aces. After losing two points on unforced errors, the Indian closed the set when Donskoy failed to return a serve.

In the second set, Ramkumar broke Donskoy in the third game, wining points by charging to the net. He saved a break in the next game, which he sealed with consecutive aces for a 3-1 lead.

Donskoy’s errors did not stop, helping Ramkumar finish the game in a jiffy. PTI

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