New Delhi: Top seed Yuki Bhambri and Vishnu Vardhan are headed for a possible title clash as they breezed into the semifinals of the ITF Futures event after scoring easy victories against their respective rivals, who failed to play to their potential.
Yuki, ranked 202, overwhelmed Karunuday Singh 6-0 6-3 in one hour and 18 minutes while Vishnu dumped second seed Jeevan Nedunchezhian 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes.
Jeevan was very erratic today and his game was full of unforced errors which made the job easy for Vishnu, who was again solid. Left-handed Jeevan relies a lot on his forehand but he could not use his most important weapon effectively today.
Vishnu will now fight it out with third seed N Sriram Balaji, who battled past Taipei`s Jui-Chen Hung 3-6 6-3 7-5 in a gruelling two hours and 35 minutes contest.
Yuki will take on fifth seed German Torsten Wietoska, who ended the run of Sidharth Rawat 6-2 6-3.
Yuki had lost all three matches to Karunuday before and they squared off today against each other after two years.
Yuki showed that he has graduated to next level as he controlled the game amazingly. His serve, range of shots, intensity with which he played made him a delight to watch.
Karunuday, who is a much better player than what he showed today, failed to play his game as he tried to hit his shots too hard and missed out on execution.
He had shots but not consistency to challenge the class of Yuki, who hardly missed a thing. He broke Karunuday in an engrossing opening game with a stunning backhand winner on third breakpoint and never looked back.
There was a bit of fight in the second set but Yuki was good enough to negotiate anything thrown at him.
Karunuday, coached by Paul Dale, was gracious in accepting that Yuki was playing much better tennis but also promised a better fight the next time he plays Yuki.
"Yuki played solid and I didn`t that`s it," was his curt reply when asked to describe the match.
"He is playing his best tennis. His confidence is quite high after winning tournaments." Asked if he was trying too much, he said,"I had to take a few chances. I had no choice."
Yuki said, "winning long games made the difference." "He has the game to dominate. He`s a good player. I was focussed and did not want to him any chance. Winning those longs games, I think made the difference," he said.
Karunuday`s coach Paul Dale said the ankle injury has still not got out of the head of his ward and that`s why he would need at least four or five nore tough matches like this to get him to his usual competitive self.
"That was not normal K.U. It`s my job to shake him up. It`s a bit messy. That injury is still not out his mind, so he`s bit worried about moving. And we worked on his serve but when he concentrates on that, he misses his ground strokes. He has not played much matches and once he does that he should be okay," Dale, who travels with Karunuday, said.
The match between Balaji and Hung was a tight one, in which the match referee had to intervene as the Taipei player was not happy with many line calls.
Long double-handed backhand rallies featured in the contest and the two players matched each other shot for shot. Initially Hung dominated as he retrieved the balls amazingly and was more accurate than his opponent.
Balaji played terrific after losing the first set. His serve improved as the match progressed and his well-judged dropped shorts and vollies got him out of trouble.
Hung, upset at several calls, could not keep his calm and started to make errors. He dropped serve in the sixth game when he buried a backhand to net. That was enough room for Balaji to level the scores.
In the third set, after trading breaks in ninth and 10th game, Balaji got benefit of a controversial call at third deuce of the 11th game and succeeded in gettting the break back. He served out the set in the next game.