Pune (Maharashtra)[India], January 6 (ANI): Indian pair of N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan pulled off one of the major upsets of the fifth edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra, beating the No. 2 seed American duo 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the doubles quarter-finals here at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
Balaji and Jeevan, who entered the tournament as an alternative pair, put up a sensational show in both thrilling sets, which were decided in the tie-breakers.
The pair consists of Jackson Withrow, World No. 49 and Nathaniel Lammons, ranked 46 in the world, who gave their all to take the match into the final tie-breaker but the Indians did enough to get the result in their favour at the end of the second set. Balaji and Jeevan ended 2022 with six successive semi-final appearances at the Challenger events.
Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis visited the stadium and watched the exciting action of the quarter-finals. The former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Saurabh Rao, IAS, Divisional Commissioner of Pune, Suhas Diwase, IAS, Commissioner, Sports, Govt of Maharashtra, Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra and Chairman of MSLTA, Sunder Iyer, Joint Secretary of All India Tennis Association and Secretary of MSLTA, Vikram Kumar, Commissioner of PMC, Shravan Hardikar, IAS, IGR, Pune and Pravin Darade, IAS, Commissioner, Social Welfare and Organising Secretary of Tata Open Maharashtra were also present on the occasion.
"We could watch great tennis and I think it has also created a spirit amongst our youth. Credit again goes to Tata Open Maharashtra. Let me assure you that in the next five years the Maharashtra government will never allow ATP-250 to go anywhere. I am very happy to be here, my best wishes to the tournament, all the players, who are participating and all who are watching. This tournament will be a huge success," said the Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.
Meanwhile, India's Ramkumar Ramanathan, along with partner Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, suffered a 2-6, 1-6 loss against the top-seeded pair of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the other doubles quarter-final.
Earlier, the 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic pulled out of the tournament after suffering a knee injury as his opponent, Tallon Griekspoor was given a walkover in the singles Round-of-8. "Hey guys, very sorry that I couldn't come out again today to compete. Today, during the warm-up, I injured my knee and unfortunately it didn't get better until I was about to go out on the court. Thanks to the fans for the great support this week, it was fantastic. I'm looking forward to returning to India in the future to compete over here again," the World No. 17 Cilic said in his statement.
The ongoing edition of South Asia's only ATP 250 event is being conducted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with the Government of Maharashtra for the fifth year in Pune.
In the other singles quarter-finals, World No. 59 Aslan Karatsev registered a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory against the World No. 63 Pedro Martinez whereas No. 2 seed Botic van de Zandschulp thrashed the qualifier Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 6-2.
The tournament will go on till January 7. (ANI)