Maharashtra Open: Raja, Ramkumar lose in semis

The men's singles pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja succumbed to a straight-set loss against Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski on Saturday.

Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan recovered from a break point in the first set to force a tie-breaker but could not maintain the intensity.   -  r. ragu

India’s campaign came to an end at the Tata Open Maharashtra after Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja bowed out to Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Belarus’ Andrei Vasilevski 7-6(3), 6-4 in the semifinals on Saturday. 

Though Ramkumar served well, Erlich-Vasilevski were good with their return of serves throughout the match to constantly stay ahead of the Indian pair. 

The 42-year-old Erlich, who won the men’s doubles title at the 2008 Australian Open with Andy Ram, balanced his role with the Belarusian perfectly either manning the net or taking the returns at the baseline. 

The all-Indian pair recovered from a break down just as the Israeli-Belarusian pair were serving for the first set at 5-4. But the Indian pair couldn’t carry the momentum as they lost the tiebreaker 7-3 in quick time. The Indians were guilty of missing too many points at the net and for the lack of preparedness for the return of serve. Purav Raja gave away a few unnecessary points at the net in urgency to finish the points.

Though the Indians managed to constantly thwart the breakpoint attempts in the second set, it was all over when Erlich-Vasilevski broke Ramkumar at 4-4. It was a matter of time as they closed out the final game to love to enter the final.

With Egor Gerasimov making the final in the singles, Pune will see two Belarusians in action in the finals on Sunday.

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