Nagal stuns Yuki to make final

Indian youngster to face Britain's Clarke for title

Nagal stuns Yuki to make final

The all-Indian semifinal of the ATP Bengaluru Open US $100,000 Challenger here on Friday turned out to be a lopsided affair with Nagal strolling to a 6-4, 6-0 victory. Nagal had posted an upset win over top seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia on Thursday to enter his first Challenger semifinal. The 20-year-old scripted another authoritative performance against Yuki, the tournament favourite, to now be at the doors of his maiden Challenger title.

Attempting to stop Nagal's red-hot run will be Jay Clarke. The Briton once again exhibited a spirited show to pack off Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei 6-3, 6-4 in the first semifinal.

"I had nothing to lose as it was he (Yuki) who was under pressure. He had won more Challengers. I was hitting cross-court, trying the slices and spins. I made him commit a lot of mistakes," said Nagal.  

In the second semifinal, Nagal had looked like the one more likely to break serve in the first set, with his aggressive play. And the break did arrive for Nagal in the sixth game. Yuki netted a return and Nagal then went 30-0 up with a strong forehand winner. Yuki cracked under pressure and produced a couple of unforced errors to concede the game.

Leading 4-2, Nagal was expected to pocket the set with ease but it turned out to be a rollercoaster battle. Both the players traded breaks and at 5-4, Nagal broke his senior opponent again to take the first set.

Not for a moment did Nagal compromise on his attacking approach as he collected points with an array of shots. Moving brilliantly, Nagal created the correct angles in the rallies and was excellent in his defence. A weak backhand hurt Yuki and the No 1 Indian singles player was error-prone throughout the game.

His confidence of bagging the first set was evident as the second set turned out to be a walk in the park for Nagal. It was his day and it looked like he could do no wrong. In the second set, he set up a breakpoint with a superb service return before going 2-0 ahead and Yuki failed to step up, all-but ending his chance of directly making the Australian Open main draw.

Divij-Elgin triumph

India's Divij Sharan and Mikhail Elgin of Russia comfortably defeated the Sabanov brothers – Ivan and Matej – of Croatia 6-3, 6-0 in the doubles final to emerge champions.

 

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