Yuki, Sumit to face-off

Yuki, Sumit to face-off

The Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger will witness an all-Indian men's singles semifinal here on Friday.

At the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, tournament favourite Yuki Bhambri expectedly towered over compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-5, 6-2 to meet compatriot Sumit Nagal for a place in the final. The 20-year-old Sumit produced razor-sharp tennis to upset top seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-3, 6-4 and enter his maiden Challenger semifinal.

The other last-four clash will see Jay Clarke, who ousted title contender Ramkumar Ramanathan on Wednesday, take on Tsung-Hua Yang of Taipei.

It was a worrying sign to see Sumit struggle with cramps in his second round tie against Britain's Brydan Klein on Wednesday. But the Delhi lad faced no such issues in the crucial match and such was his domination that the battle was a one-way traffic till the finish.

"Yesterday I had a tough match but I believed I could win this. I just kept my focus in the process. I am still learning and I hope to get better," said Nagal.

Right from the start, Sumit exhibited fluent movement across the court and broke Kavcic in the fourth game to lead 3-1. The Indian brushed off a minor hiccup, that saw him double fault twice while serving for the set, to clinch it 6-3.

After both the players traded breaks in the second set, Sumit went ahead 2-1 in the third game. Showing great balance in rallies, he collected points with ease to stay in front. Kavcic, coming into the encounter after prevailing in two gruelling three-setters, appeared like he had run out of gas. There was no pressure of facing an experienced and higher-ranked opponent for Sumit who produced some delightful sliced backhands.

Earlier, it was a solid show from the third-seeded Yuki. Prajnesh's big serves kept the match in balance in the first set but Yuki got the crucial break in the 11th game. After sending in a strong forehand down the line, Yuki was helped by back-to-back unforced errors from his opponent.

The flurry of errors continued from Prajnesh as the second set turned out to be lop-sided affair. Yuki was near-perfect at the net and never allowed his opponent an opening. Yuki broke his opponent twice to lead 4-1 and closed out the tie with ease.

Results (prefix denotes seedings): Quarterfinals: Singles: Sumit Nagal (Ind) bt 1-Blaz Kavcic (Slo) 6-3, 6-4; 3-Yuki Bhambri (Ind) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran (Ind) 7-5, 6-2; Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Ante Pavic (Cro) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1); Tsung-Hua Yang (Tpe) bt Antoine Escoffier (Fra) 6-4, 6-4.

Doubles: Semifinals: Ivan Sabanov/Matej Sabanov (Cro) bt Tomislav Brkic (Bos)/Ante Pavic (Cro) 7-6 (3), 6-4; Mikhail Elgin (Rus)/Divij Shara (Ind) bt Vishnu Vardhan (Ind)/Sriram Balaji (Ind) 6-4, 4-6, 10-8.

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