Ramkumar Ramanathan beats Donskoy to make Eckental Challenger semis

Ramkumar Ramanathan trounced his Russian opponent 6-2, 6-1 in just 57 minutes as he fired 11 aces during the quarterfinal clash of the Eckental Challenger.

The 35 points that Ramkumar Ramanathan has assured himself by reaching the last-four in Germany will take him back into the top-200 (File Photo).   -  R. Ragu

India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan stormed into the singles semifinals of the Eckental Challenger with a ruthless win over fourth seed Evgeny Donskoy in Germany on Friday.

The unseeded Indian trounced his Russian opponent 6-2, 6-1 in just 57 minutes as he fired 11 aces during the quarterfinal encounter of the indoor event.

The 35 points that Ramkumar has assured himself by reaching the last-four will take him back into the top-200. He is currently ranked 206.

This was Ramkumar’s best performance of the season. The quarterfinal appearance at January's Bangkok Challenger in Thailand was his best result before today’s win. He resumed competitive tennis last month after a long break due to the coronavirus.

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While his net game fetched him a lot of points, an off-colour Donskoy’s unending errors only made it easy for Ramkumar.

This was also Ramkumar’s first win over Donskoy, ranked 120. When they had previously met in the 2015 Karshi Challenger in Uzbekistan, the Indian lost.

Ramkumar broke Donskoy in the fifth game when his rival netted a return, opening up a mini-lead. It became 4-2 in Ramkumar’s favour when Donskoy’s backhand return crashed onto the net.

A backhand volley winner at 30-all on Donskoy’s serve gave Ramkumar another breakpoint. The tennis player from Russia only helped the Indian by serving a double fault on the breakpoint.

Ramkumar came out to serve off the set and began with a couple of aces. After losing two points on unforced errors, the Indian closed the opening set when Donskoy failed to return a serve.

In the second, Ramkumar broke Donskoy in the third game, winning points by charging the net. He saved a break point in the next game, which he sealed with consecutive aces for a 3-1 lead. Donskoy’s errors did not stop, helping Ramkumar finish the game in a jiffy.

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