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Maharashtra Open tennis: Vishnu Vardhan, Sriram Balaji lose in doubles semi-finals

The Indian pair went down against Australian top seeds Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith in straight sets.

India’s Vishnu Vardhan and Sriram Balaji’s doubles campaign at the Maharashtra Open 2022 ATP 250 tennis tournament ended after losing in the semi-finals at Pune’s Balewadi Stadium on Friday.

Vishnu Vardhan-Sriram Balaji, who entered the tournament as replacements, lost to the Australian top seeds Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith 6-2, 6-4 in 61 minutes. Saville was one half of the men’s doubles team which reached the Australian Open 2020 final.

Saville and Smith made early inroads after breaking the Indian pair in the fifth game and clinched the set from there with ease.

In the second set, Vardhan and Balaji kept the intensity high but the experienced Australian pair produced better consistency to pocket the match in straight sets.

In the quarter-finals, Vardhan and Balaji had received a walkover after their opponents Gianluca Mager and Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew before the match. In the first round, Vardhan and Balaji had defeated fellow Indians Arjun Khade and Purav Raja.

With Vardhan and Balaji out, Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the only Indians still alive at the tournament.

Bopanna and Ramanathan will take on the French pair of Fabien Reboul and Sadio Doumbia in the other semi-finals on Saturday. If the Indians win, Bopanna and Ramanathan, who won the Adelaide International in January, will have a second shot at an ATP title this year.

Meanwhile, in singles, no Indian made it past the quarter-final stage of the Maharashtra Open.

While Yuki Bhambri lost in the round of 16. Ramkumar Ramanathan, Arjun Khade and Prajnesh Gunneswaran could not make it past the first round.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala

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