Bengaluru Open: Ramkumar-Purav beat Paes-Eden for doubles title

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja whipped Leander Paes and Matthew Ebden 6-0, 6-3 in the doubles final at the KSLTA Stadium on Saturday.

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja collected the winner’s cheque of $9,300 and 125 ATP ranking points.

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja collected the winner’s cheque of $9,300 and 125 ATP ranking points.   -  Sreenivasa Murthy

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja have played second fiddle to Leander Paes and Matthew Ebden for the bulk of the $1,62,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Tennis Challenger here. Ramkumar and Purav, however, forced their way to the forefront when it counted most.

In a clinical display, the duo whipped Paes-Ebden 6-0, 6-3 in the doubles final at the KSLTA Stadium here on Saturday. Ramkumar-Purav ensured that Paes -- playing possibly his last ATP event in India -- would not ride into the sunset as a champion.

While Purav was all class at the net, Ramkumar covered the back-court well and muscled his groundstrokes. Paes and Ebden simply had no answers to the devastating one-two punch, in a summit clash that lasted just 56 minutes.

Ebden and Paes both struggled with their serves, recording a poor 49 per cent combined first-serve percentage. Ramkumar, on the other hand, was devastating on the serve, consistently finding the right spots at around 220-kmph.

Ramkumar-Purav have now won an incredible three titles in the four tournaments they have entered. The pair collected the winner’s cheque of $9,300 and 125 ATP ranking points.

“I’ve never had such good results with a new partner. The future looks bright. I don’t want to take Ramkumar away from his singles commitments, so I will have to work out my schedule so that we can play together often,” Purav said.

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Ramkumar, whose main focus has been on singles, stated that he is enjoying his doubles run. “Purav and I know exactly what to do in big moments. Purav knows where I will serve, and we know each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We bond well and the vibe is good - that is important,” Ramkumar said.

In the singles section, Benjamin Bonzi’s giant-killing run continued. The unseeded Bonzi took out second-seed S. Travaglia 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinal. Bonzi, who has beaten four higher-ranked rivals in this tournaments, reached his second Challenger final. Bonzi, the World No. 368, is on a comeback trail after a recent big dip in his world ranking. The Frenchman will face Australian James Duckworth in the final on Sunday. Duckworth cruised past Italy’s J. Ocleppo 6-3, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

Emotional Leander will miss home support

An emotional Leander Paes, who has possibly played his last ATP event match in India, stated that he will miss the massive home crowd support that he has enjoyed over his long career. The 46-year-old Paes shed a few tears when asked about his fans, at the post-match press conference here on Saturday.

“The fact that I’ve played my last match in India - it sunk in after the match when I was signing autographs. A young girl - must have been five or six years old - gave me a ‘One Last Roar’ t-shirt which was twice her size. She gave it to me and said, ‘Leander, can you sign this?’. She must have been about 40 years younger to me, and she wanted my autograph. It meant a lot to me, because she recognised the effort I have put into my career," Paes said, "And when I signed the t-shirt and gave it to her, she turned around and said 'Bye'. She said bye. That’s a great way to go.”


The results:

Singles (semifinals): James Duckworth (Aus) bt J. Ocleppo (Ita) 6-3, 6-2; Benjamin Bonzi (Fra) bt S. Travaglia (Ita) 6-3, 6-4

Doubles (final): Purav Raja (Ind)/Ramkumar Ramanathan (Ind) bt Matthew Ebden (Aus)/Leander Paes (Ind) 6-0, 6-3.
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