Sweden's Ymer stuns World No. 15 Karatsev at Tata Open Maharashtra, storms into quarters

Elias Ymer TennisPune: Sweden’s Elias Ymer stunned top-seed and World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev of Russia in straight sets to storm into the quarter-finals of the 2022 Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday.

Ymer handed Karatsev a shocking 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) defeat in the singles second round match that lasted for one hour and 36 minutes. 

The 25-year-old Ymer, who came through the qualifiers, started the game well and took an early 3-1 lead against Karatsev, who struggled to find his rhythm, playing his first match at the tournament, which is organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association.

With 76% of service points won, compared to Karatsev’s 47%, Ymer comfortably bagged the opening set against Karatsev, who committed five double faults.

The star Russian, who upstaged World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on his home court to enter the Serbia Open final last year, tried to forge a comeback but Ymer showed phenomenal reflexes and resisted well with some powerful shots to level the scores at 4-4 in the second set.

Ymer then held his serves and forced Karatsev, the first player in an Open Era to reach the Grand Slam semi-final on debut at 2021 Australian Open, to a tie-break.

“I was more focussed on my serves. When you serve well, you always win matches. I think the serve was the key,” Ymer said after his match.

World No. 163 Ymer started strongly in the tie-breaker by racing to a 3-0 lead and then maintained his fine touch to complete a sensational victory and sent Karatsev packing.

“He (Elias) played well. I didn’t start the match well and tried to find a solution in the second set to get back into the game,” Karatsev said. 

Meanwhile, the defending champion Jiri Vesely, who received opening-round bye, started his campaign with a confident 6-3, 6-4 win against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

Sixth-seeded Emil Ruusuvuori also had an easy outing against qualifier Vit Kopriva, securing a 6-3, 6-3 victory during a lopsided last-16 contest. 

Later in the evening, star Indian singles player Yuki Bhambri will look to secure a quarter-final berth as he is set to take on eight-seed Stefano Travaglia in the second-round of the tournament which is being owned by IMG and operated by RISE Worldwide in India. 

Earlier in the doubles match played late on Wednesday night, N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan defeated compatriots Arjun Kadhe and Purav Raja 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round.

The Indian duo of Balaji and Vardhan, which made it into the main draw as an alternate pair, has now entered into the semi-finals as their opponents Gianluca Mager and Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew from the last-eight match due to an injury to the former.