ITF Futures: Sriram Balaji moves into final

Second seed Sriram Balaji played sharp to beat Vitaly Kozyukov of Russia 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the USD 25,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in Uzbekistan on Friday.

Sriram Balaji will take on Sanjar Fayziev of Uzbekistan in the final.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Second seed Sriram Balaji played sharp to beat Vitaly Kozyukov of Russia 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the USD 25,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in Uzbekistan on Friday.

In the final, Balaji will challenge top seed Sanjar Fayziev of Uzbekistan. Balaji in partnership with Vishnu Vardhan asserted the Indian supremacy in the doubles final with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the second seeded Russians. The Indian pair did not face a single breakpoint in the match and converted three of five breakpoints to sail through to the summit.

It was the sixth doubles title of the season as a pair for Balaji and Vishnu. In Singapore, top seed Ramkumar Ramanathan and fifth seed Vijay Sundar Prashanth set up an interesting semifinal clash. Even though he is ranked 269 (Prashanth is ranked 586), the 22-year-old Ramkumar has not beaten the latter in their two meetings in the international circuit so far.

The results

USD 25,000 ITF men, Andijan, Uzbekistan

Singles (semifinals): Sriram Balaji bt Vitaly Kozyukov (Rus) 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles (final): Sriram Balaji & Vishnu Vardhan bt Vladyslav Manafov (Ukr) & Denis Matsukevitch (Rus) 6-3, 6-2.

USD 15,000 ITF men, Singapore

Singles (quarterfinals): Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Sidharth Rawat 7-5, 6-3; Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Masalo Shiga (Jpn) 6-0, 6-2.

Doubles (semifinals): Soichiro Moritani & Masato Shiga (Jpn) bt Ramkumar Ramanathan & Manish Sureshkumar 6-1, 7-6 (5).

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