Kirill Gerassimenko: Enjoyed playing against Alvaro Robles

Fierce rallies made the singles encounter between U Mumba’s Kirill and Goa Challengers’ Robles an entertaining one.

Kirill Gerassimenko’s 2-1 defeat did not impact his team much as it was a lopsided contest otherwise, Goa Challengers going down 11-4.

Kirill Gerassimenko’s 2-1 defeat did not impact his team much as it was a lopsided contest otherwise, Goa Challengers going down 11-4.   -  Twitter/@DonicOfficial

U Mumba’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the World No. 36 from Kazakhstan, finished on the wrong side of an entertaining singles encounter against Alvaro Robles at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi on Monday.

Both players had strong forehand topspin and the backhand block. They engaged each other in rallies. One of them was a particularly long one – 19 strokes – during the final game; it was cheered appreciatively by the crowd.

Kirill’s 2-1 defeat did not impact his team much as it was a lopsided contest otherwise, Goa Challengers going down 11-4.

Reflecting on his match after his team’ comprehensive win, Kirill said, “I really knew [Robles] for a long time. This wasn’t the first time we played. So, we know each other quite well. I really enjoyed the game; there were many phases I was passive when he was aggressive. When the [first] game was at 10-10, it was a close game, but the thing is he put one ball more on the table, in the end. He had a great service; he chose the right service at the right moment. But I enjoyed the game very much because there were many rallies, many good shots.”

READ: U Mumba mauls Goa Challengers as in-form Thakkar, Doo Hoi shine

The only game Kirill pocketed was the first, on golden point. It was come-from-behind win for him. “I was always down - 3-1, 4-2, 5-3, like that. And then, it was 10-10. I decided to do something really risky. I was going for the risk, [but Robles] was also going for the risk. He made a long service to my backhand, which was like weak, so he did well. I hit parallel, and then he missed the shot,” Kirill recollected.

The pressure ahead of the golden point – a concept that doesn’t exist in international competitions – is huge, admitted Kirill.

“Big pressure. Outside you cannot see anything, but inside it’s burning. You have to calm down, just to try. You have to go for risk. Then, when the point is going on, you don’t feel pressure so much, you just try to keep ball on the table. That’s all,” he said.

This is Kirill’s first taste of the UTT. So, what has he learnt so far?

“It’s good that this is the beginning of the season. We prepare very well for the internationals. It’s a good help to know some players. The crowd is amazing. At the beginning of the season, it’s very good. You have support for the team; you feel support, you give support. You learn to be in a team. It’s one of the most important [parts of preparation], because we have so many team games – [such as] the Asian Championships and the Bundesliga in Germany,” Kirill concluded.