Pune ATP Challenger: Yuki Bhambri pockets second title of season, set to re-enter top-100

Yuki Bhambri beats Evgeny Donskoy to win KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune, here on Saturday.

Pune ATP Challenger: Yuki Bhambri pockets second title of season, set to re-enter top-100

Pune: Yuki Bhambri fashioned an impressive if not dominating win to clinch his second title of the season with a 6-2 7-6(4) defeat of second seed Evgeny Donskoy in the final of the USD 50,000 KPIT-MSLTA Challenger, here on Saturday.

It was the best serving day of the tournament for Yuki, ranked 105, as he lost only two points on his serve to quickly wrap up the first set and that set the tone of the match.

Donskoy's game was littered with errors and it only aided Yuki, who collected 80 points for his effort and is not only set to re-enter the top-100 but will stay there for good number of weeks.

Yuki has been very consistent in the last three months as he won title in Shanghai, ended runner-up in Taiwan and reached semifinals in Tashkent and Vancouver.

It was fifth career-title for Yuki at Challenger level and first time he has won two Challengers in a single season. He won one each in 2014, 2013 and 2012.

"I got better with my serves with each passing day. Serve definitely bailed me out and when I serve well, I will always have chance to win, no matter who the opponent is," Yuki said after the match.

Asked if Donskoy's errors played a big role in the outcome of the match, Yuki offered commiserations for the Russian.

"The ball just flies here. It's difficult to control the ball and that's why there were more hit and misses. When you play a semifinal at ATP 250 and then play a Challenger first round, motivation level could be tough. But the guy has played exceedingly well," he said.

Yuki said it has always been a case of getting the shape

back for him but now he can look forward to build and make a transition to ATP level.

"Earlier, I was taking two steps forward but going four back. Now that I have remained injury free, I can really build on, get stronger in off-season rather than just recovery. I definitely feel I belong there."

Donskoy was completely out of sorts today. With two double faults he dropped serve in the very first game.

He was missing down the line shots and his backhand let him down the most. Two of those errors handed Yuki his two break points in the fifth game.

Donskoy followed that with a forehand error to give Yuki his second service break and a 4-1 cushion. In 24 minutes, Yuki had taken the first set from the Russian, who had beaten world number 39 Borna Coric in Kremlin Cup before coming to this tournament.

Donskoy did step up a bit in the second set but Yuki remained strong despite losing his serve in the sixth game. It was the first game of the match when Yuki lost three points on his serve to be down 15-40. Donskoy smashed a forehand winner on first to make it a contest.

Yuki though broke back in the ninth and again was helped by Donskoy's error-strewn game. The Russian made three consecutive errors to surrender that game at love.

It came down to tie-break and two more backhand errors by Donskoy to put Yuki 4-1 ahead. Donskoy saved two match points but sent another backhand soaring over the baseline to give Yuki the match.

Yuki will next play in USD 125,000 Hua Hin Open in Thailand, where he is seeded third and will open his campaign against Japanese Yuichi Sugita.

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