Yuki Bhambris family and friends,perched upon a wooden structure designed to hold camera tripods for those filming action on the inside courts at the DLTA Complex,raised the intensity and volume of their cheers as their player moved in for the kill against Vishnu Vardhan on Friday.
Their semi-final of the $15,000 ITF Futures had seen a complete turnaround from the opening moments of the match,and the dominance of Bhambris game had turned into a battle for his survival,courtesy a few casual volleys slammed into the net one of those on set point in the second set and some excellent play from Vardhan,and the time had come to go for broke.
But as it turned out,Vardhan let a few double faults ruin his chances,and at the same time,Bhambri sent down some untouchable serves that made all the difference in his 6-3 4-6 7-6 (4) win.
Im happy with the way I lasted through this match. I was dictating in the first two sets,but a couple of my volleys were probably too casual and they cost me, Bhambri said after his match.
The serve made the difference right at the end,he messed up a few,and I held mine.
After he served the double fault in the tie-break,it made my task a lot easier. I thought that was my only chance and I had to go for it. I knew this match would be a tough one because I played him the last time around when I was in Delhi and it wasnt easy.
The third set had a profusion of missed opportunities from either player,and many of those were met by frustrated yells from the junior world No 1. The missed volley at set point,the break points that flew by after terribly calculated backhand slices,and the huge serves from Vardhan that couldnt really be dealt with all pointed towards the inevitable tie-break that would decide the match.
The second seed smashed an overhead shot to get the possibly decisive mini-break,but it all accounted for nothing as the next two points that came from his racquet were given away by double faults. In stark contrast,two good serves from Bhambri immediately after put an end to a two-and-a-half-hour long contest.
In the final,the Delhi player will take on Rohan Gajjar,who got past Ashutosh Singh 6-3 7-5.
Delhis Singh,the only unseeded player in the semi-finals,had fought his way past good quality players to reach this stage,but crumbled in straight sets against sixth seed Gajjar,who was not afraid to advance to the net when the opportunity presented itself.
After winning the first set off a single break,Gajjar found himself a break down early in the second,but recovered quickly to get back on serve,and a careless service game from Singh right at the end gave his opponent the opportunity to serve out the match. Gajjar didnt put a foot wrong,pounding away winners to seal the win.