Ramkumar tops in singles; Prarthana-Sharmada win

Ramkumar tops in singles; Prarthana-Sharmada win

Indians completed a clean sweep of the tennis competition at the 12th South Asian Games with Ramkumar Ramanathan triumphing in the men’s singles final and Bengaluru’s Sharmada Balu partnering Prathana Thombre for the women’s doubles gold.

While Sharmada and Prarthana edged past compatriots Rishika Sunkara and Natasha Palha 7-5, 2-6, 10-4 in a hard-fought final at the All Assam Tennis Association, in-form Ramkumar defeated Saketh Myneni 7-5, 6-2 in the final that started with plenty of promise before petering out into a one-sided affair.

“I’m extremely delighted to have won the gold,” a delighted Sharmada said. “This tournament was a great opportunity for me to win a gold for the country. I was extremely determined to win a gold and an international title.

“We started well in the final before suffering a meltdown in the second. Having played Rishika and Natasha in a lot of tournaments in the country, we sort of knew what will come our way. We held our composure in the decider very well.
Kudos to my partner Prarthana without whom I could not have stood atop the podium.”

The men’s final was an interesting affair with Ramkumar determined to show the huge improvements he has made during the off season. Myneni, ranked 137 in the world, was eager to win the gold himself as well.

Both players held serve until the ninth game when World No 215 Ramkumar earned his first break. Myneni though broke back immediately but Ramkumar won the next service game before holding his own to take the opening set.

Myneni started the second on a positive note by taking a 2-0 lead. But that was all he could manage as Ramkumar played fine tennis from thereon, hardly giving his opponent a look-in to gallop way to victory.

Results (All finals): Men’s singles: Ramkumar Ramanathan (Ind) bt Saketh Myneni (Ind) 7-5, 6-2.

Women’s doubles: Sharmada Balu/ Prarthana Thombre (Ind) bt Rishika Sunkara/ Natasha Palha (Ind) 7-5, 2-6, 10-4.

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