Paes wins Challenger, Ramkumar wins a double

It was the first Challenger title for the 42-year-old Leander Paes in 16 years. His previous Challenger triumph was in 2000.

Leander Paes paired with Sam Groth to lift the Challenger title in Busan, Korea on Sunday.   -  R. RAGU

Multiple Grand Slam champion Leander Paes won the doubles title with Sam Groth of Australia, as the top seeds beat the Ratiwatana twins, Sanchai and Sonchat of Thailand, in the final of the $100,000 men’s Challenger tennis tournament in Busan, Korea, on Sunday.

It was the first Challenger title for the 42-year-old Leander Paes in 16 years. His previous Challenger triumph was in 2000. It was also his first title of the season, his 17th Challenger doubles title, and 71st doubles title in all.

He has won 11 Challenger singles titles apart from a Tour event. The last Challenger singles title also came in 2000.

Interestingly, Paes has won at least one Tour doubles title every year since 1997 till last year. Even though he is scheduled to play another $100,000 Challenger next week with the same partner in Seoul, the 57th ranked Paes should soon be getting back to the big league of Tour events and Grand Slams, in his bid to be prepared for his seventh Olympics in Rio.

Meanwhile, Ramkumar Ramanathan won the singles title in the $10,000 ITF men’s Futures tournament in Spain. It was a double crown for the 21-year-old Ramkumar who had earlier won the doubles title. It was the 12th singles title for Ramkumar and his 14th doubles title.

The 239th ranked Ramkumar will play the $50,000 Samarkand Challenger next week in Uzbekistan, and start against a qualifier. He has not entered the doubles.

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan will be the third seed in doubles in the Samarkand Challenger with Riccardo Ghedin of Italy.

The results:

$100,000 Challenger men, Busan, Korea

Doubles (final): Sam Groth (Aus) & Leander Paes bt Sanchai Ratiwatana & Sonchat Ratiwatana (Tha) 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.

$10,000 ITF men, Lleida, Spain

Singles (final): Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (Can) 7-6(10, 6-2.

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