Davis Cup: Year’s first for Ramkumar Ramanathan as India lead Denmark 2-0

Published on Mar 05, 2022 12:01 AM IST
  • A singles win after six losses in 2022 for the 27-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan. 
Ramkumar has struggled in the singles losing his six previous matches.(ANI)
Ramkumar has struggled in the singles losing his six previous matches.(ANI)

Eyebrows were raised when Divij Sharan and not Ramkumar Ramanathan was chosen to partner Rohan Bopanna for India’s sole doubles Davis Cup tie against Denmark. The 27-year-old Ramkumar has been in form, winning the Adelaide International and Maharashtra Open—his first doubles titles on the ATP Tour—with Bopanna in January. He followed it up by winning and then reaching the finals of back-to-back events in Bengaluru on the ATP Challenger Tour.

At the same time, Ramkumar has struggled in the singles losing his six previous matches including five consecutive first round exits this year.

But that didn’t matter on Friday as the world No.170 took to the grass at Delhi Gymkhana like fish to water and eased past Christian Sigsgaard 6-3, 6-2 in less than an hour to give India a 1-0 lead in the World Group I playoff. Yuki Bhambri also made a winning comeback to the Davis Cup for the first time in five years by beating Mikael Torpegaard 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes to give India a perfect 2-0 lead on Day 1.

“I always play singles but as and when I can, I play a lot of doubles also. I am a serve-and-volley player, it improves my volley, my net game,” said Ramkumar.

All of Ramkumar’s five losses this year came on hard courts. So when India decided to play the tie on grass, Ramkumar knew it was his chance to return to winning ways as he would be playing on his favourite surface.

“Because it is the grass court, the confidence was there right away. Yesterday, when I saw the court and (practised), I could hit a few balls, enjoyed, had fun, went to the net, tried some touch volleys… that’s where the confidence comes (from),” said Ramkumar.

Regularly reaching and dominating the net, the Indian had the upper hand from the start against world No.824 Sigsgaard. Solid forehands and slices from the baseline, volleys at the net coupled with the Dane’s double faults—he had eight in the rubber—helped Ramkumar break Sigsgaard in the fourth game which was enough to seal the set. The second set was even shorter with Ramkumar breaking Sigsgaard twice as the Dane struggled to adjust to the low bounce and quick pace of the court.

“I was pretty sharp today. I kept the timing of the serve which was great, loved coming in, kept it simple. A few good points here and there did the trick along with a few good shots from me. We stuck to the way we are supposed to play on grass which is the most important thing,” said Ramkumar.

On Saturday, Bopanna and Sharan will play against Denmark captain Frederik Nielsen and Johannes Ingildsen followed by the reverse singles.

Results: Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Christian Sigsgaard 6-3, 6-2; Yuki Bhambri bt Mikael Torpegaard 6-4, 6-4. India lead 2-0.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

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