Top-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan registered a dominating first round win on Day Two of Tata Open Maharashtra here at Mhalunge Balewadi Tennis Stadium on Tuesday. The Indian pair outclassed Radu Albot-Malek Jaziri pair 6-1, 6-2 to live up to their top billing at India’s only ATP World Tour event.
Playing on Court 1, the Asian Games gold-medal winning duo took less than an hour to move to the second round dispatching the Moldova-Tunisian pair. In second round, Bopanna-Divij will take on Indo-Mexican pair of L Paes/ M. Reyes-Varela that beat D. Marrero/ H. Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3, 6-4.
In the third match at the Centre Court, perhaps the most exciting one of the Day 2, Ramkumar Ramanathan took on Spain’s Marcel Granollers in what was their second ATP Tour meeting.
Granollers broke Ramanathan in the first game itself. The Indian came back breaking his opponent’s first serve too. But Granollers took the initiative breaking Ramanathan second time and maintained his grip on the 1st set winning it 6-4 in 35 minutes.
But Ramanathan was determined to stay alive. With a more controlled game, the 24-year old sealed the second set 6-4 breaking the 32-year old in the tenth game to take the match to decider.
Ramanathan was charged after winning the second set and continued his momentum in the third. What defined Ramanathan’s form was the stunning cross-court in the fourth game to break the Spanish player and take a 3-1 lead in the decider. The two players held their serves until Ramanathan sealed the set and match at 6-3. Ramanathan will now take on fourth-seeded Jaziri in 2nd round on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, India’s Saketh Myneni, who entered the main draw after two gruelling qualifying matches, withdrew due to a foot injury. Thiago Monteiro came in his place a lucky loser to face France’s Benoit Paire. The fifth-seeded Frenchman got the better of Monteiro in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-3 with 18 aces.
In the first match at the Centre Court, Ivo Karlovic got the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5. The match between one of the youngest players and the oldest at the event lasted for an hour and 14 minutes where the 39-year old Croatian hit 13 aces enroute the straight sets win over the 18-year old qualifier from Canada.
Karlovic broke Auger-Aliassime in the fifth game and held on to his serve to lead 4-2 and eventually won the first set 6-4. Auger-Aliassime put up a stronger show in the second but Karlovic broke him in the 11th game and dished out three aces in the final game to seal the second set 7-5 and the match.
In the last match of the day at Centre Court, local boy and wildcard entrant Arjun Kadhe was up against Laslo Djere from Serbia. Arjun did well to get the initial break in the opening set. There was a strong fight from the Indian all the way into the second set as well, but he lost the match 5-7, 6(6)-7(8).
Men’s Singles – 1st Round
(Q) S Bolelli d D Istomin 6-4, 6-4
I Ivashka d H Hurkacz 6-7 (9), 6-2, 603
I Karlovic d (Q) F Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5
(5) B Paire d (L) T Monteiro 7-6(5), 6-3
J Vesely d (Q) A Hoang 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
(W) R Ramanathan d M Granollers 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
L. Djere d (W) A. Kadhe 7-5, 7(8)-6(6)
Men’s Doubles – 1st Round
D Molchanov / Zelenay d P Andujar / R Carballes Baena 6-1,6-4
(1) R Bopanna / D Sharan d R Albot / M Jaziri 6-1, 6-2
S. Bolelli / I. Dodig d  M. Arevalo / J. Cerretani 6-4, 5-7, 10-7
L Paes / M. Reyes-Varela d D. Marrero / H. Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3, 6-4