Chennai: Yuki Bhambri, playing with rare fluency, outgunned his senior pro Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-4 in a clash of the Davis Cup stars to enter the final of the PL Reddy Memorial ATP Challenger tennis tournament here yesterday.
Yuki Bhambri. Pic/Getty Images.
In Saturday’s final, seventh seeded Bhambri, ranked 174 to Devvarman’s 103, will take on Alexander Kudryavtsev who eliminated fellow-Russian and second seed Evgeny Donskoy 7-6 (4), 6-3.
The maiden match between India’s top two players Devvarman the top seed and Bhambri saw the latter putting up a sterling display to emerge a relatively comfortable winner. Devvarman, who was broken twice in the first set and four times in the second, summed up his disappointment when he said: “Let’s not talk about it, let’s talk of the future.”
Yuki in command
Bhambri was in command with strong returns, especially with his forehand returns. For the best part of the match, Devvarman tried to only keep the ball away from Bhambri’s forehand, but the tactic was not good enough.
Bhambri served strongly in the first set to hold serve throughout and closed out the set 6-2. But the percentage dropped in the second as he conceded three service breaks after being ahead each time.
It was in the 10th game that he pulled up his socks again and got his first serve in for four of the five points and win the match when Devvarman’s return sailed wide on the first match point. The other semi-final between 238-ranked Kudryavtsev and Donskoy (130) started at a furious pace. Kudryavtsev ran away with a 3-0 lead winning 12 of the first 14 points. He served powerfully and stroked fluently on both flanks hitting winners at will.
Donskoy then clawed his way back with a counter attack, eliciting unforced errors from Kudryavtsev and managed to level scores 3-all. Both players held till 6-all to take the set into a tie break. Kudryavtsev took the upper hand with a mini-break on the first point only to concede it a point later.
He regained the initiative with a powerful winner and then held on to his serve to take the set 7-4. In the second set, Kudryavtsev was dominant and never looked backed after breaking Donskoy early in the set to win 6-3 for the match.
Bhambri put himself in line as he reached the doubles final along with Kiwi Michael Venus. The duo beat Ruben Gonzales and Artem Sitak 6-2, 6-1 in the final to set up a title clash with Balaji and Blaza Rola.