Antalya Open: Fearless Ramkumar Ramanathan ready to tackle quarters after Dominic Thiem win
Following one of India's most famous singles victory, Ramkumar will next face the mercurial Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the quarterfinals of the Antulya Open.
World No 222 Ramkumar Ramanathan gained the world's and India's attention after his pre-quarters match against World No 8 Dominic Thiem.
Thiem, who steamrollered his way past the defending and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the French Open 2017 quarter-final, lost to the 22-year-old Indian 3-6, 2-6 in the Antalya Open.
Following one of India's most famous singles victory, Ramanathan will next face the mercurial Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals of the Antulya Open.
The 22-two-year-old, who faced a top-10 player for the first time in his singles career told the Times of India, "It makes me fearless, now I will definitely not be scared of my next opponent. I did celebrate my win against Thiem, but now I am back at the drawing board, planning for the quarter-final against Baghdatis."
Talking to the Times of India about his unimpressive form in 2017, he said, "I am happy that the hard work I had put in has finally paid off. It was a difficult season for me but I knew I wasn't playing bad. Even though it was a big blow losing early at Chennai Open, I knew there was nothing to really worry about. I lost many close matches and I knew that it was only a matter of time before that changed.”
Ramanathan, who underwent extensive coaching in Barcelona under coach Emilio Sanchez, entered the event as a qualifier and made it to the pre-quarters by beating Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. However, Ramanathan couldn't make it to the Wimbledon qualifiers, the cut-off date of which ended on 25 June.
Accolades seemed to be pouring from all quarters with India's foremost singles player Somdev Devvarman, Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali and Karti Chidambaram reported to have praised the Chennai-based player's historic win.
The win also drew praise from Indian tennis legends like Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes.
What an exciting win for @ramkumar1994 .. beating a top 10 player should give him a lot of self belief on what he could be capable of..👏👏👏🇮🇳
— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) June 27, 2017
For now, all eyes will be on Ramanathan's quarter-final match at the Antalya Open against 2006 Australian Open finalist 32-year-old Baghdatis. The two have never played before and this will be their first clash on the tour.
Ramanathan had a historic win and would like to repeat the feat against the Cypriot to prove he is not a flash in the pan.
World number one Djokovic, the undisputed favourite for the men's title in Japan, easily dispatched Bolivia's Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2, avoiding a repeat of his first-round exit five years ago in Rio.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev urge schedule rethink as tennis stars toil in sweltering heat
World number one Djokovic encountered little resistance from Bolivia's Hugo Dellien in a 6-2, 6-2 first round win, but like many others found the playing conditions particularly demanding.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Novak Djokovic, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar in action on Day 1 of medal events
Novak Djokovic launches his quest for Olympic tennis glory on day one of the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games on Saturday as Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar goes for one of 11 gold medals on offer.