At the Tata Open Maharashtra, Sweden’s Elias Ymer came through two qualifying rounds to make it through to the main draw. In the main draw, the 25-year-old, who drew fellow qualifier, Gian Marco Moroni, defeated the Italian 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to make it to the second round where he will take the tournament top seed, world no.
15, Aslan Karatsev for a place in the last eight. To sum it up for Ymer, it’s been a good start to the week. It’s also, after his early exit at the Australian Open in the final round of qualifying, the kind of turnaround he’s wanted for himself in the initial months of the season.
“My first tournament after Melbourne, so always good to get a good start. I don’t think I was playing bad in Australia either but I lost a bit too easy, I thought, in the final round. But I’m happy to be playing here in Pune, again,” Ymer told TennisWorld USA after his win over Australia’s Marc Polmans in the final qualifying match.
Ymer’s gladness to return to the Indian city’s understandable. The last time he was here, for the ATP Challenger event in 2018, he won the title – his sixth Challenger title – defeating India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the final.
“I think the conditions’ very different here,” explained Ymer, speaking about having a good run of form at the venue, adding, “I feel like the ball’s very lively; it bounces very high so I get a good time with my forehand and I can be aggressive.
So, I think the condition fits me very well”. Nonetheless, Ymer isn’t taking the ease of play he derives in Pune for granted. Likewise, he’s also not setting much by store of expectations this year but is rather keen on “wanting to play match by match”.
With this objective in mind, the eldest of the three Ymer brothers also stated that this year was all about him “playing his game” without letting any external influences distract him. “This year, I want to focus on myself, don't want to put too much emphasis on other people, and if I play my game and if I focus on myself, I know what I’m capable of,” he noted.
Elias Ymer on the Davis Cup experience
In a way, this confidence and keenness to keep his person at the forefront of any conversation surrounding his tennis ties back to Ymer’s highs at the 2021 Davis Cup Finals for Sweden.
Placed in Group B along with Canada and Kazakhstan, Sweden advanced to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup finals where it lost to eventual champions, the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF). Of the three rubbers he played, Ymer won two – in the group stages – defeating Canada’s Steven Diez and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.
In the quarter-final, he pushed Andrey Rublev’s to three sets before bowing out of the rubber, in the third set tie-break. In fact, Ymer credits his performance against Rublev in that tie for helping him gain perspective about the level he could bring onto the court.
“My match against Rublev was a very good match,” opened up Ymer. “It gave me a lot of confidence, to be honest, and since then, I feel like my tennis’ been going a bit up, I have to say. I grew a lot from that match, showed that I had the game to play better guys and I just want to keep going”.
In Pune, against Karatsev, for a chance to reach the quarter-finals, Elias Ymer will get to do just that. Photo Credit: Tata Open Maharashtra