The Indian men’s doubles duo of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan ended their campaign at the ongoing Asian Games 2023 with securing a silver medal at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre on Friday.
Taking on the Chinese Taipei pair of Jason Jung and Hsu Yu-hsiou in the men’s doubles summit clash against a Chinese crowd who were very vocal for the local favourites, causing some problems for Myneni and Ramanathan in the process, who ultimately lost the match by a margin of 4-6, 4-6.
Despite securing eight successive points on serve, it was in the fifth game which turned the tide of the match when Ramkumar’s service was broken, giving the Taipei duo a 3-2 lead and from thereon, they maintained themselves up front till the end of the match.
After losing just five serve points in the opening set, the second set saw that number climbing to 13 for the Indian pair even before the start of game nine, with now Saketh having his service broken. Jung and Yu-hsiou continued to maintain their lead, eventually securing their maiden Asian Games gold.
“The crowd didn’t know when to shout and when not to shout, which was a little bit tough for both teams,” said Ramkumar who secured his first medal at the Games. “Between the first and second serves and returns, it breaks the rhythm a lot. But that was the case for both of us. If they [crowd] could have been better, it could have been better for us.”
There was a moment of frustration from Ramkumar, who even threw his racquet down in protest during the match and gazed at the referee, who signalled him to continue with the game.
“The crowd support helped. You can feel the energy inside. It’s tough being on the receiving end of it. I think its because we both [nations] speak Mandarin, that we get the support here. If we don’t play against China, they want to cheer for us,” said Jung. “Maybe the score looks straightforward but it’s actually very difficult. We did a good job of keeping our errors down today. We took care of our serves very well today and helped each other out at the net.”
With the addition of the men’s doubles silver, India’s medal tally at the event is now at 28, consisting of 7 gold, 10 silver, and 11 bronze medals.