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Asian Games: Ramkumar-Saketh pair ensures medal; Nagal, Raina exit

Last updated on: September 27, 2023 20:09 IST

IMAGE: After the singles players disappointed, India’s men’s doubles pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni ensured a medal for India. Photograph: SAI Media/X

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni ensured that tennis will contribute to India's medal tally at the Asian Games by reaching the men's doubles semifinals but Sumit Nagal and Ankita Raina drew a blank after losing their respective singles quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Indian pair quelled a late challenge from China's Zhizhen Zhang and Yibing Wu for a 6-1 7-6(8) win in the quarterfinals.

Reaching the semifinal stage means that India is assured of at least a bronze. While it will be third Asian Games medal for Myneni, who won the men's doubles silver and mixed doubles gold in 2014 -- it will be the first-ever medal for Ramkumar, who has endured a torrid 2023 season, in which he lost 17 first round singles matches.

The top-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri was considered a sure-shot medal contender but the Indian team made a shock early exit.


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.

Veteran Rohan Bopanna and his partner Rutuja Bhosale inched closer to a mixed doubles medal, winning their pre quarter-final match against 13th seeded Japanese pair of Ayano Shimizu and Shinji Hazawa 6-3 6-4.

IMAGE: Sumit Nagar crashed out in the quarterfinals as the Indian tennis squad returned empty-handed from the ongoing Asian Games. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters


Up against top seed and home favourite Zhizhen Zhang, it was always going to be a herculean task for Nagal to go past the world number 60.

To his credit, Nagal took a set off the Chinese before losing steam in the men's singles quarterfinals, which he lost 7-6(3) 1-6 2-6 in two hours and 16 minutes.

Somdev Devvarman had won a men's singles gold in 2010 and after that Yuki Bhambri (2014, Incheon) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (2018, Jakarta & Palembang) won a bronze each in the following editions.

Raina, who had become only the second Indian woman to win a singles bronze in 2018, waged a gritty battle against Japan's Haruka Raji before losing her quarterfinal 6-3 4-6 4-6 in a marathon two hours and 53-minute contest.

Their exit means that India will not have a singles medal from the Asian Games for first time after the 2006 Doha edition where Rohan Bopanna and Karan Rastogi could not reach the medal rounds in the men's singles.

Ramkumar and Rutuja Bhosale had exited the singles competition in the third and second round respectively.

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