India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan and Karunuday Singh won their quarter-final matches in straight sets to make the last four of the Cambodian $10,000 ITF Futures for the GLF Tep Khunnah Trophy at the National Training Center.
The spotlight was clearly on last week’s GLF Cham Prasidh Cup winner Ramkumar when he got down to fight second seeded German Robin Kern on Court 1. What transpired for close to two hours was a high intensity contest, peppered as it was with some hard serves at both ends.
For the record, Ramkumar won 7-6, 6-4 but the storyline could have been so different if only the German hadn’t misjudged a high return from Ramkumar in the first set tie-break.
Facing a set point at 6-7, Kern forced a hurried baseline return from Ramkumar. Having moved up to the middle of the court, Kern was well placed to put the volley away but he chose to let it pass probably thinking that the ball would go long.
But to his chagrin it landed on the line. The first set was lost and so was Kern’s cause a little later.
It wasn’t the best of starts when the second set opened for the Indian, who quickly dropped his serve to give his rival an early advantage. But serving at 3-2 to consolidate his gains, Kern dropped his serve and the break back by Ramkumar worked so heavily on the German’s mind after he missed an easy shot that he made his racquet a mangled mess, repeatedly smashing it to the ground.
Serving at 40-30 in the third game, Kern tried a delicate drop shot but netted it, and that’s precisely where the match turned Ramkumar’s way. He went on to break the German and kept his own service games intact the rest of the way.
Away on Court 3, sixth seeded Karunuday Singh used his consistency as the main weapon to wear down Harry Meehan of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4. Meehan, who made the quarter-finals at the expense of his coach and third seed Josh Goodall 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Wednesday, had his moments but the Indian was decidedly the steadier of the two on court.
Meanwhile, top seeded Chen Ti of Taiwan was taken to three sets by Mico Santiago of the United States in the day’s longest quarter-final match while fourth seeded Toshihide Matsui of Japan packed too strong a punch for young Alexander Zhurbin’s comfort.
Chen had to work his way back to the match after losing the first set. Once he managed to size up Santiago midway through the second set, the top seed had come through the worst. He went on to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The fourth seeded Matsui on the other hand had the Russian left-hander Zhurbin under his command most of the way, chalking up a 6-2, 6-3 win.
Semi-finals from 9.30am at the National Training Centre
Chen Ti v Karunuday Singh
Toshihide Matsui v Ramkumar Ramanathan