5th Tata Open Maharashtra: Indian duo Balaji-Jeevan shock No. 2 seed to storm into doubles semis

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Pune, January 5, 2023: 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 at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday.

Balaji and Jeevan, who entered the tournament as an alternative entry, put up a sensational show in both the sets which saw close competition before they decided in the tie-breakers.

The pair consists of Jackson Withrow, World No. 49 and Nathaniel Lammons, ranked 46 in the world, 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 Jeeven ended 2022 with six successive semi-finals appearances at the Challenger events.

Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis visited the stadium and watched exciting action of the quarter-final matches. Mr Saurabh Rao, IAS, Divisional Commissioner of Pune, Mr Suhas Diwase, IAS, Commissioner, Sports, Govt of Maharashtra, Mr Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra and Chairman of MSLTA, Mr Sunder Iyer, Joint Secretary of All India Tennis Association and Secretary of MSLTA, Mr Vikram Kumar, Commissioner of PMC, Mr Shravan Hardikar, IAS, IGR, Pune and Mr Pravin Darade, IAS, Commissioner, Social Welfare and Organising Secretary of Tata Open Maharashtra were also present on the occasion.

“We could watch great tennis, great matches; 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 to all who will be watching. This tournament will be a huge success,” said Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis.

Later tonight, India Ramkumar Ramanathan will be in action in the doubles quarter-finals along with Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela. The duo will face challenge from top-seeded pair of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

Meanwhile, the 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic pulled out of the singles event after suffering a knee injury as his opponent, Tallon Griekspoor was given a walkover. “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 return to India in the future to compete over here again,” the World No. 17 Cilic said in his statement.

The on-going 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-final, No. 8 Aslan Karatsev pulled off a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory against the World No. 63 Pedro Martinez.

The prestigious tournament, owned by IMG and managed by RISE Worldwide, is sponsored by Tata Motors.

The tournament will go on till January 7.