*N. Sriram Balaji (R) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan during the doubles quarter-finals at the 5th Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune on Thursday, January 5, 2023

Seasoned campaigners  N. Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan created a  major upset as they stunned the No. 2 seed American duo 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the doubles quarter-finals of the Tata Open Maharashtra, at the Balewadi  Tennis Stadium here on Thursday.

Balaji and Jeevan, who entered the tournament as an alternative entry, put up a sensational show in both 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 Jeevan ended 2022 with six successive semi-final appearances at the Challenger events.

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 returning to India in the future to compete over here again,” the World No. 17 Cilic said in his statement.

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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.

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra  Devendra Fadnavis visited the stadium and watched the exciting action of the quarter-final matches. “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. he added

The ongoing 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.

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