Chennai Open: Ramanthan sizzles in front of home crowd

The 6-2, 6-0 sweep was as one-sided on court as the scoreline suggests; that Traver was ranked 98 in the world and was playing against an unheralded opponent was not what it seemed. Muscled strokeplay and booming serves shocked Gimeno-Traver, who was clearly under pressure.

Ramkumar Ramanathan in action during the first round at Chennai Open on Tuesday.   -  R. Ragu

In front of shouting and applause of fans from his home town, Ramkumar Ramanthan, the World No. 268, made short work of Daniel Gimeno-Traver, his Spanish opponent, in an hour, via a sizzling, powerful game.

The 6-2, 6-0 sweep was as one-sided on court as the scoreline suggests; that Traver was ranked 98 in the world and was playing against an unheralded opponent was not what it seemed. Muscled strokeplay and booming serves shocked Gimeno-Traver, who was clearly under pressure.

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Ramkumar attributed his win to simple factors.

“I just followed what I had to do. I just found my style. I was going for my shots. Going for my first serves.” The points won on the first serve itself gives an indication of this. Ramkumar won 20 out of 24 of his first-serve points, whereas Gimeno-Traver won only 20 out of 39. Ramkumar’s second serves were successful too: he won eight out of 11 of them overall. Moreover, in terms of statistics on return of serves, too, the Indian outdid his opponent enormously.

Ramkumar indicated after the match that he wanted to build up his fitness to that of the best players, and today’s muscling was certainly an indication that he possessed the requisite energy.

“For the last ten days, when I was in Coimbatore, I focussed on training of my upper body. I want to be fit enough as I want to get into the top 50 in one or two years.”

A measure of confidence was when he didn’t dismiss his chances against his second-round opponent, the World No. 12 Kevin Anderson.

“Kevin is a really good player, [but] I think if I play well, there’s always a chance.”

In the ensuing doubles match set to feature Stanislas Wawrinka in action in doubles, his partner Guillermo Garcia-Lopez pulled out of the fixture owing to a calf injury.

Earlier in the day, Garcia-Lopez played tight match, and won, against Japan’s Taro Daniel.

Instead of Garcia-Lopez and Wawrinka, the alternate pair of John Millman and Daniel took field against Leander Paes and Marcel Granollers, and lost tamely 2-6,3-6.

ORDER OF PLAY - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 06, 2016

STADIUM COURT start 5:00 pm

[8] B. Coric (CRO) vs R. Ram (USA) or A. Krajicek (USA)

[1] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] A. Rublev (RUS) or [Q] S. Devvarman (IND)

J. Millman (AUS) vs [4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

COURT 1 start 5:00 pm

[WC] N. Balaji (IND) / R. Ramanathan (IND) vs [4] M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL)

[Q] A. Pavic (CRO) vs T. Daniel (JPN) or [5] G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP)

[WC] S. Devvarman (IND) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) vs N. Monroe (USA) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI)

COURT 2 start 6:00 pm

[3] O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) vs A. Bedene (GBR) / T. Huey (PHI)

A. Krajicek (USA) / B. Paire (FRA) vs S. Betov (BLR) / M. Elgin (RUS)