This is just the start, says Newport runner-up Ramkumar

The 23-year-old's appearance in the summit clash made him the first Indian in seven years to reach the final of an ATP singles event.

Ramkumar Ramanathan went down fighting against Steve Johnson in the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.   -  Ben Solomon

Ramkumar Ramanathan might have faltered in the final of the Newport ATP 250 on Sunday, when he lost 5-7, 6-4, 2-6 to Steve Johnson, but he will look to maintain his form and hold on to the positives he gained from the tournament as he heads into the upcoming Asian Games and the Davis Cup tie against Serbia in September. 

READ| Johnson beats Ramkumar to claim Newport title

"It was a great week for me. I gave it my best all throughout and tonight was a tough game. I'm taking a lot of positives from here," said Ramanathan on Sunday night.  "Making the final here has been the highlight of my career so far but it does not stop here. I think I can get better and this is just the start," he added.

Ramanathan made the best of his venomous serve, firing as many as 41 aces – the highest in the tournament. "I focussed a lot on my serves and played an aggressive brand of tennis. I took my chances and think they paid off," quipped the Indian, who has jumped 46 places to reach a career-best ranking of 115.

The 23-year-old's appearance in the summit clash made him the first Indian in seven years to reach the final of an ATP singles event since Somdev Devvarman did so in 2011, where the latter lost the final to Kevin Anderson in the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg.

READ| Ramkumar jumps 46 places to career-best 115

Ramanathan's last two best performances were quarterfinals appearances in the 2016 Chennai Open and 2017 Antalya Open. "I've had a few tough weeks but I kept pushing myself and kept working on my game. I made a few corrections to my game and also learned to deal with pressure better and that has helped me.

"This week's result shows that I can play at this level and also that if I keep working on my game, any week can turn in my favour," noted Ramkumar, who became the third-lowest ranked player to reach a ATP final this year.

The second-ranked Indian is inching closer to the top-100 mark and a good run at the Atlanta Open and the Washington Open – where he will be seen in action next – will see him break the barrier and join Yuki Bhambri in the top-100 bracket.

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