When he looked at the draw for this week at the Seoul Challenger,Yuki Bhambri wouldn’t have been very impressed. In the first round he was facing third seed and world number 119 Dmitry Tursunov from Russia. Post his nerve biting Davis Cup win last month,where he played a match lasting nearly five hours,Bhambri hasnt had much court-time on the Tour. That could be attributed to the draws he has been getting. In his first tournament after the remarkable 5-0 Davis Cup win,at the Bangkok 500,he ran into American sensation Donald Young in the first round of the qualifiers itself.
Back on the Challenger rung in Tashkent,he drew another seed in the opening round,Karol Beck from Slovakia,who is ranked 128. Both matches were straight set losses for the 20-year-old. So seeing his name against Tursunov this time wasnt very comforting. But the Delhi player turned tables on his higher ranked opponent for what is one of his years biggest wins. Bhambri upset Tursunov 6-4 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes and will next play a local wild card.
Bhambri told Sportline from Seoul: When you start playing bigger events,you have to expect tougher draws. There is no way around it so I was just trying to be patient. The season is coming to an end,I hadnt had a win in some time and honestly when I realised Im facing Tursunov I wasnt expecting to beat him. So I went into the match trying to put up a good show and trying to make a match of it.
He ended up doing more than that as he broke Tursunov,who was formerly ranked 20 in the world,in the third game of the match itself. However,in the very next game Bhambri gave the advantage back,being able to save four break points but not the fifth. But after the two players held their serve for 3-3,Yuki broke him again for a 4-3 lead which he maintained. The match started good for me as I was serving well right from the start. A lot of first serves in put the pressure off and then because he was the more aggressive player,I was just trying to run for everything and put a lot of balls in. That could have frustrated him because on the crucial points,he was trying to go for more and missing but I also took my chances and it worked out, Bhambri says summing up the match.
The second set was a lot more tight as both players held serve. Bhambri though prevailed again in the tiebreak,opening a 3-1 and then 5-3 lead. Towards the end there was a final hiccup though. At match point when I was up 6-4 in the tiebreak,I served my first double fault of the match to give the break away. That could have gotten troublesome and I am lucky to have pulled it off, he says.
For the overall performance,he lauds his defensive skills. I am glad that despite being an aggressive player myself,when the situation needed,I could mix up with a good defence. Sometimes its important to win matches by slugging it out, says Bhambri who is playing his last tournament ahead of the Australian Open qualifiers next year.