On-song Gajjar to lock horns with Malik in summit clash

Second seed Gajjar overcame Niki Takuto of Japan, the third seed, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4  in a hard fought three setter which lasted 186 minutes, and fourth seed Vijayant Malik, who made it to his maiden ITF final, eased past an injury hit top seed VM Ranjeeth 6-1, 6-2 in the last four encounters.

Gajjar and Takuto waged a relentless baseline battle with neither giving away an inch of room. Gajjar broke Takuto in the first game of the tie and went on to take a 4-2 lead but Takuto hit back in the eighth game, after forcing three deuces. The set then went with serves until 6-all. In the tie-breaker, it was Gajjar all the way. Two big serves saw him grab 6-1 lead before wrapping up first set 7-6 (7-2).

Takuto came back strongly in the second set with a twin break in the first and third games to race away to a 4-0 lead.

Too many unforced errors by Gajjar didn’t helped his cause and narrowly escaped another break in the fifth game. Indian broke Takuto in the eighth game to cut the deficit to 3-5. The Japanese took the second set 6-3 and levelled the scores when Gajjar dropped his serve again in the ninth game with a double fault. In the decider Gajjar played crucial points with telling effect and won the set 6-4 to enter the title round.

Results: Singles, semifinals: Vijayant Malik bt VM Ranjeeth 6-1, 6-2; Rohan Gajjar bt Niki Takuto (Jpn) 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4.

Doubles, final: Rohan Gajjar (Ind)/ Vitali Reshetnikov (Rus) bt Vijayant Malik (Ind)/ Vivek Shokeen (Ind) 6-1, 6-2.

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