In rainy and misty conditions, Ramkumar Ramanathan went down fighting against Steve Johnson of the USA in the final of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport on Sunday.
Ramkumar, who was bidding to become the first Indian to win a men's singles title on the ATP tour in 20 years, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the final by Johnson, who is ranked 48 in the world.
In spite of the loss, Ramkumar's dream run to the final is expected to see him jump around 40 places in the rankings from the 161st position he currently occupies.
The summit clash was delayed by two hours due to rain but when it began, it was the American who started on the front foot winning the first set 7-5. It served as a wake-up call for Ramkumar who played more aggressively in the second set, particularly attacking Johnson's serve. He went on to win the second set 6-3 to take the game to a decider.
And it was Johnson who outlasted Ramkumar in the contest racing to a 3-0 lead in the set. Johnson managed to comfortably hold his lead and grab the win.
However, Ramkumar will take heart from his performance at Newport. The 23-year-old Chennai native was playing his maiden ATP Tour final after stunning fancied opponents including American Daniel Kudla and Canadian Vasek Pospisil.
The last Indian to win a men's singles title on the ATP Tour was Leander Paes when he won the Hall of Fame Open in Newport in 1998. Paes is also a mentor to the youngster.
Vijay Amritraj has also won the title at Newport in 1976, 1980 and 1984.
Ramkumar however was not able to add to the line of titles won by Indians in Newport. This was the first time in seven years an Indian had reached a men's singles final on the ATP tour after Somdev Devvarman lost to Kevin Anderson in Johannesburg in 2011.