Maharashtra Open: Paes-Ebden pair downed in quarters

The tournament needed Leander Paes to go the distance to sustain audience interest after the end of Indian campaign as well as the loss of Benoit Paire.

Paes and Ebden during their Maharashtra Open quarterfinal match.   -  R. Ragu

Every winner from Leander Paes’ racquet received a loud roar of approval from the fans, but they were far too little as the Indo-Australian pair lost to the all-Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja in the doubles quarterfinals of the Tata Maharashtra Open at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday.

The scoreline of his final ATP World Tour event would read 6-2, 6-1, and he just about averted a bagel in the second set.

Leander, however, will play in the Bengaluru Open Challenger tournament next week in India before bidding farewell to the Indian fans.

The tournament needed Leander Paes to go the distance to sustain audience interest after the end of Indian campaign as well as the loss of Benoit Paire on Thursday. But it was not to be.

Ramkumar Ramanathan, who is inching closer to a top 100 rankings in doubles, was the best performer tonight. He took the burden off Purav Raja with his forehands with some of his shots earning a stamp of approval even from Paes. Both Paes and his partner Matthew Ebden fared poorly on the court with restricted movement and far too many unforced errors. As the errors started creeping, the two, in fact, started chuckling at their misses.

In the first set, both Paes and Ebden were broken upfront and were never really in the hunt for a win. The second set played out worse, with Raja-Ram pair taking a 4-0 lead and a breakpoint up on Leander’s serve. Leander held on, just about, for the all-Indian pair booked their place in the semifinals.

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