Patchy Vishnu enters final

Patchy Vishnu enters final

Indian faces Ti Chen in summit tie

A gritty Ti Chen and an edgy Vishnu Vardhan had to work hard in their respective semifinal matches on Friday before setting up a title clash in the Toyota $10000 ITF Futures men’s tournament here at the KSLTA courts.

Vishnu Vardhan returns during his win over Ranjeet Virali Murugesan on Thursday. DH PHOTO

For the second successive day, the top seeded Chen had to dig deep as the Taiwanese saved three match points before overcoming fourth seed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 in a thrilling battle that lasted for almost two and a half hours.

Later, second seed Vishnu, the winner of Mysore leg, ensured his final spot, battling past a resilient Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan and a rain interruption to register a 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 verdict in the second semifinals. “It was a pretty tough match. My serve is my strength, so I was focusing on serving well. At times I struggled with my serve but I am happy to come up with a win,” said Vishnu, who was broken for the first time in this meet on Friday.

Chen, who pulled off a comeback win on Thursday against Ashwin Vijayragavan in the quarterfinals, lost the first set by dropping the third and ninth games. The 28-year-old Chen’s chances of a final berth further deteriorated when he was down 3-6 in the second set tie-breaker. With one foot on the exit door, Chen produced a dramatic turnaround. First Jeevan floated a forehand long and then Chen came up with backhand and forehand winners on two successive points to level the scores (6-6).

Chen then helped himself to set point with a deep serve and levelled the set scores when Jeevan double faulted as the tie went into the decider. Chen cleverly slowed down the pace in the third set which affected his opponent’s rhythm. With his usual top spin serves deserting him, Jeevan faltered in the second game, failing to hold his serve. A frustrated Jeevan hit the ball out of the stadium, prompting the chair umpire to warn the 23-year-old for court violation.

Both players then held their serve until 5-3. But more drama was in store with Jeevan breaking Chen, who was serving for the match, with a forehand drop. Jeevan’s joy shortlived with Chen breaking back in the next game, the Indian hitting a forehand long, to seal the issue.

Results (semifinals, prefix denotes seeding): 1-Ti Chen (Tpe) bt 4-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Ind) 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; 2-Vishnu Vardhan (Ind) bt 5-Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan (Ind) 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3.

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