Divij Sharan had managed the seemingly unimaginable feat of knocking out last weeks winner and fourth seed Yuki Bhambri in Thursdays quarter-finals of the $15,000 ITF Futures at the DLTA Complex. On Friday,an early one-set lead against second seed Vishnu Vardhan may perhaps have allowed him the chance to think of his first singles final since October last year,but the rain that followed the opening set in the first semi-final of the day washed all such hopes away. During the rain delay,that lasted more than an hour,the first set didnt appear to particularly weigh on Vishnus mind,as he shared a few laughs with the ITF supervisor while Divij preferred to do a few stretches under the makeshift tarpaulin roof next to the courts. But when the players returned to complete the match,the momentum had swung all the way to Vishnus side of the net. He broke his fifth-seeded opponent in the ninth game of the second to take the match into a third,and stayed ahead in the final set to wrap up the match 4-6 6-3 6-1. Maybe he was thinking too much during the rain break since he had already won the first set. I didnt think about the match at all,I just relaxed, said Vishnu after the match. This week the way Im playing,maybe it isnt as good as last weeks because I feel a bit tired,but mentally I feel stronger, he added.
In the final,he will play compatriot Rohan Gajjar,who gets another chance to win the title that slipped out of his grasp in last weeks final. Gajjar outlasted top seed Kento Takeuchi in a gritty three-setter which went the distance to the third-set tie-break,ending 6-4 4-6 7-6 (5).
The serve was where the Indian looked slightly wobbly,and he gave away points at crucial moments of the match,giving away games on his serve,and at one instance,even surrendering a set. In the first,he got the first break of the match in the sixth game,only to give it away in the next,but clinched the set after breaking Takeuchi in the tenth.
The Japanese,who had been watching the first match of the day and was perhaps inspired by the turnaround that Vishnu managed,began his own comeback attempt in the second. Of course,he was aided in this quest by poor serving from Gajjar,who gifted the second set away on a double fault when he was serving to stay in the set.
Gajjar seemed determined not to let this one get away,though,and he broke Takeuchi in the fourth game to put himself ahead in the decider. But another double fault came in his way and put the match back on serve in the seventh,and the tired players had to get ready for the tie-break. It was the Indian who managed to last the distance.