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Asian Games: Saketh, Ramkumar enter men’s doubles final, will fight for gold | Tennis News

India’s Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan beat Seongchan Hong and Soonwoo Kwon of Korea 6-1, 6-7(6), 10-0 to advance to the men’s doubles final at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou. The No.2 seeds are assured of at least a silver but they would want to settle for nothing less than gold after the kind of dominance they have shown in the competition so far. This will be Myneni’s third final at the Games – he had won gold in the mixed doubles event and silver in the men’s doubles event in 2018. Ramkumar, however, will make his maiden appearance at a Games final. This will also be his first medal at the competition.

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni

With top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri out of the competition with a shock defeat in the first round, India’s hopes rested on Myneni and Ramkumar to put an end to what has been a disappointing campaign for the tennis players. The second seeds were on a mission. They were the dominant pair by some distance in the first set. They got the first break as early as the fourth game and won five games in a row to take the first set in merely 25 minutes against the unseeded Korean opponents.

Hong and Kwon put on a much better performance in the second set. They did their best to hold the Indian pair in the second set but the deadlock was broken in the seventh game. The Koreans saved as many as five match points but the Indian pair had the last laugh to get the break and take a 4-3 lead in the second set.

But just when it was looking like it would be smooth sailing for India, the Koreans to a break back to make it 5-5. Serving for the match, Ramkumar and Saketh failed to seal the deal as the latter failed to convert a hat-trick of overhead smashes.

The Korean pair saved two break points in the next game to take a 6-5 lead. Saketh served up two aces in the pressure game to hold and push the match to the tie-breaker.

It was a nail-biting contest even in the tie-break as both teams did not give an inch to the other. With 5-5, the Koreans once again found inspiration to find a forehand winner. Myneni then found the net as Korea took the second set to send the men’s doubles semi-final into the decider.

Myneni and Ramkumar was simply flawless in the 10-point shootout, as they pocketed all the points to secure their berth in the summit clash. They will next face Thailand’s Isaro Pruchya and Jones Maximus Parapol, who beat the Chinese Taipei combination of Jsu Yu-hsiou and Jung Jason 6-4, 7-6(5), in the gold medal match on Friday.

Disappointments in tennis

The Bopanna and Bhambri pair was considered a sure-shot medal contender but the Indian team made a shock early exit in the opening round.

In the singles matches on Wednesday both Nagal and last edition’s bronze medallist Raina exited the continental championship, squandering a one-set advantage.

In another disappointing result, the top-seeded Indian pair of Yuki Bhambri and Raina crashed out of the mixed doubles event, following a 4-6, 6-4, 8-10 defeat against Philippines’ Francis Casey Alcantara and Alex Eala in the pre quarter-finals.

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