Tashkent: Yuki Bhambri made an exit from the Tashkent Challenger after losing yesterday's unfinished semifinal 6-4 3-6 3-6 against top seed and home favourite Denis Istomin, here on Saturday.
Yuki was leading the Uzbek 6-4 3-4 when rain had halted play yesterday and was broken in the first game of the day to let Istomin serve out the second set and force a decider.
However, the 45 points that Yuki earned from the event is expected to break into 1op-100 when new rankings are issued on Monday. He is ranked 105 now.
It was a bad start for the Indian to the third as he lost serve in the very first game after a couple of deuces. Istomin played solid and looked fully recovered from tough matches earlier.
Yuki saved two breakpoints in the seventh game with some great serving and managed to hold the game and had a chance to break Istomin in the next but could not capitalise.
In the ninth game, Yuki saved three match points but a backhand lob from Istomin saw the Indian put the high volley and also his chance of making the finals into the net.
"We went indoors and Istomin played a lot better Indoors. He served incredible and made me work very hard on my games. I think he played perfect tennis. Yes, rain changed everything because we changed surface," Yuki told PTI after his match.
Yuki informed that he has pulled out of next week's Air Asia Open "to recover from a few niggles."
"I play will only the Pune Challenger," he said.
Istomin had words of praise for Yuki.
"I was lucky it rained yesterday and we moved to the indoor courts. I'm very impressed with his game. I lost to him last time in Davis Cup and since then I see a lot of changes in him. He is playing strongly and attacking and looking like a top 100 player.
"I'm happy to have played indoor as he nearly had me yesterday. I'm happy that we played a very good match," said the former world no 33 Istomin whose rankings have dropped to 67 in this month .
Uzbekistan Davis Cup Captain Peter Lebed also spoke highly of Yuki.
"Yuki played very well and matched him stroke for stroke. He is a different player since I saw him last time. He has improved his serve and ground strokes. I feel that he has the game but needs to be mentally a little stronger. But he has potential to take on good players at the highest level," Lebed said.