India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan made it to the second round of the ongoing Cincinnati Masters, after he beat American qualifier Chris Eubanks 6-7, 6-1, 6-4. The 22-year-old Indian will next face either American Jared Donaldson or Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.
Ramanathan continued his fine run as he recovered from a set down to beat American qualifier Chris Eubanks 6-7, 6-1, 6-4. Ramanathan had earlier beaten Serbian Dusan Lajović 7-6, 6,4 in the first round of the qualifiers, but went down to German Maximilian Marterer 6-7, 6-7 in the second round of the qualifiers. However, Gael Monfils’ withdrawal from the tournament due to illness meant that the Indian made it to the main draw of the event as a lucky loser.
Earlier, reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer had announced his withdrawal from the tournament due to a back injury he suffered during his 3-6, 4-6 final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the Rogers Cup on Sunday.
The injury struck Federer in the opening stages of the final and significantly affected his movement. As the match moved into the second set, it affected the Swiss Maestro’s serve the most as he was only able to roll the ball in at a gentle pace. And Federer confirmed his exit from the Cincinnati Masters on Monday, saying, “I tweaked my back in Montreal, and withdrew from this week’s ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati,” reported Telegraph.
However, Federer’s withdrawal more significantly means that only one of the top six players in the world currently features at Cincinnati i.e. Rafael Nadal. And the Spaniard is all set to take over the no.1 spot in the rankings from Andy Murray next Monday, even if he loses his opening match against either Richard Gasquet or John-Patrick Smith, on the back of yet another hugely successful clay court season where he won his 10th Roland Garros title.
The 31-year-old Nadal will thus climb to the top of the ladder for the fourth time in his career, having already spent 141 weeks there across his three previous ascents. This will also be the 11th time that the No. 1 spot has changed hands between the members of the “Big Four” since Federer first occupied it on Feb 2, 2004.
On the other hand, Murray is also among the big names sidelined by injury, though he is expected to play the US Open which begins on 28 August, despite the chronic hip trouble he has been dealing with since the French Open. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have already announced that they will not be appearing again in 2017, while the 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic is nursing a groin issue.
As far as Federer is concerned, he now has a fortnight to try and recover from his back injury before heading into the US Open. Though Cincinnati is a mixed gender event which many players use a final warm-up ahead of the last grand slam of the year, some of the leading women’s players have also confirmed their absence from the tournament. While Maria Sharapova has pulled out with a forearm issue, Victoria Azarenka is absent because of personal problems. British No. 1 Johanna Konta will be present, however, and is due to play either Oceane Dodin or Kiki Bertens in her opening match.