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When an Indian tennis player beat World No.1 at Australian Open

When an Indian tennis player beat World No.1 at Australian Open

C.C. Chengappa

Published: 10 Feb 2021 6:43 AM GMT

It's always considered a huge success when a world champion or a World No 1 is defeated by a lower ranked player against all odds. Tennis has seen its fair share of upsets over the past several decades and one very prominent and historic moment was when Ramesh Krishnan became the face of Indian Tennis after accomplishing a truly historic sporting feat.

Ramesh Krishnan had faced Mats Wilander approximately 6 times before he took him on in the 1989 Australian Open. He had lost all the previous encounters and it seemed that he was headed for a 7th defeat when he reached the second round and was drawn to play the top-ranked male player in the world. Yet by the end of the game, the scoreline stood at 6-4,6-1,6-3 in straight sets and Ramesh Krishnan was the victor.

There was a mid-game scare when in the third set, Wilander began a stunning comeback when the set score was 3-5. Krishnan needed two points to win the game but made a double fault that resulted in making the set score 5-5. He eventually calmed his nerves and finished the game of with a backhand volley, out of his opponent's reach. He was never known for swerving serves or powerful smashes, but he used the biggest trick in the book to his benefit which was his brain.

It was a mixture of drop shots, making Wilander run to all ends of the court and drawing him off by playing closer to the net and finishing off the point with volleys. It was his passion and aggression that drove the then World No. 51 to get one over his rival and become just the second individual since 1973 to stop a defending champion from advancing past the second round in a Grand Slam.

This match was also the beginning of the end for Mats Wilander who never won another Grand Slam again. Ramesh Krishnan meanwhile went on to captain India at the Davis Cup in 2007, ended his career with 8 titles to his name and a World Tennis singles rank of 23. He was a true legend of Indian tennis.

Also read: Did you know he was the only sportsman to represent India in both cricket and tennis?

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