Those memorable contests...

India has hosted the ATP Chennai Open for the past 20 years. Naturally, there are matches that stick out from the rest, and when the upcoming edition kicks off and rolls on there will be a few more. Prasanna Venkatesan has his list of the event’s most memorable singles matches, as of now.

<h3> The early upset </h3></br><b>Boris Becker vs. Gerard Solves (1998, second round)</b></br>All eyes were undoubtedly on Boris Becker that year. Ignoring the huge fan base here, he chose to be fascinated by the omnipresence of the Indian cows. “Everything’s happening on the roads. People eat, sleep, cook, fight. Cows too live on the roads,” he had said. It’s reported that he was amused to find, during a practice session, that the cows also walked the tennis courts of the Taj Coromandel, the hotel where he stayed. Maybe, it was the bovine intervention that disrupted his practice and caused him to lose 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 in the second round to the 6-foot tall Frenchman, Gerard Solves. But then, what’s a traditional event without shocking upsets?
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<h3> Clash of the crowd favourites</h3></br><b>Carlos Moya vs. Paradorn Srichaphan (2005, final)</b></br>It was Paradorn Srichaphan’s fourth consecutive final and he had endeared himself to the Chennai crowd. More so, with his spiky hairdo, and the traditional Thai greeting which he performed at every match to thank them. But he lost the match to the other crowd favourite, Carlos Moya 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (5-7) after a two-hour and 45 minute grind. So much so, he had battled enough to shave his head and spend a week as a Buddhist monk in saffron robes by the end of that year.
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<h3>Clash of the Spaniards</h3></br><b> Rafael Nadal vs. Carlos Moya (2008, semifinal)</b></br>To snap easy is atypical of Spanish tennis. Slide, stretch, or fall, they try push a rally, pull a win off. Not surprisingly, when one Spaniard ran into the other in the semifinal in 2008, the match lasted 3 hours and 54 minutes to enter the ATP tour history as the joint-longest three-setter at that time. Nadal had three tie-breaks and Moya’s supreme net play to deal with in his 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 win. Oh, and yeah, Nadal features in four of the top-40 longest tennis matches of all time, and has now added Moya to his coaching team.
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<h3>Somdev's dream run snaps</h3></br><b>Marin Cilic vs. Somdev Devvarman (2009, final)</b></br>The match turned a fact-box entry since it was the first time that Croatia and India had been represented in a final in the ATP World tour 250 series. Somdev had a never-before-seen impressive run with wins against Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic, but had to finish runner-up with a 4-6, 6-7 (3) loss in the title clash.
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<h3>Raonic serves big</h3></br><b>Milos Raonic vs. Janko Tipsarevic (2012, final)</b></br>Milos Raonic is a Wimbledon finalist now. But, then, he was only 21 years old, and had the distinction of being “ATP’s newcomer of 2011”. More than anything, he was best known for his big serve that rings like a gunshot in a village dark and quiet. He hit 35 aces to Tipsarevic’s eight in his 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 win. It was only his second career title.
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<h3>Ramkumar’s moment of reckoning</h3></br><b> Ramkumar Ramanathan vs. Somdev Devvarman (2014, first round)</b></br>This match, and this match alone, helped Ramkumar effect an entry into the domain of the noticed. After he defeated Somdev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in front of a moderate crowd buzzing gaily, Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj pulled him into a hug unreserved and full-hearted. What’s more, it was only his maiden main draw match at an ATP event.
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