All eyes were on Ramkumar Ramanathan, who had clinched a massive upset in the second round of the Antalya Open to beat World No 8 Dominic Thiem. In his path now stood veteran Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. But after fighting a long and arduous battle which saw him take the opening set and saving five match points, Ramanathan couldn’t extend his heroic run to go down 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-7 (8) in a quarterfinal that spanned 2 hours and 43 minutes.
The World No. 222 kept his game strong, winning the first set and hitting as many as 10 aces, in comparison to Cypriot’s nine. The 22-year-old, however, could only convert a single break point while Baghdatis was successful in three.
In the third set, Baghdatis went down 0-30 twice in three games and there was a window for Ramkumar to probably inflict damage and get a break but each time Baghdatis came back with either good serves or desperate volley to hold. If there was an open chance for Ramkumar, he would squander it with poor decision making on his groundstrokes.
In the tiebreak, Ramkumar started by getting the mini break before Baghdatis won six straight points. It brought about match points for 2006 Australian Open finalist. But at the change of ends, Ramkumar turned tables with wind blowing in his favour to draw the match at 6-6. But on the second changeover, Baghdatis picked up a sublime half volley to bring up yet another match. On his serve, Ramkumar approached the net after the serve but couldn’t send his half-volley over the net to go down.
On Tuesday, Ramanathan stunned French Open 2017 semi-finalist Thiem to get plenty of attention and will be rewarded by jumping to World No 184 from his previous best of 196 and current 222.
Ramanathan had entered the tournament through the qualifiers, as opposed to Thiem who was the top seed. Ramanathan had earlier defeated the 68-ranked Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.