ATP Kaohsiung Challenger: Yuki Bhambri stuns second seed, reaches finals
Yuki Bhambri has hardly put a foot wrong in the ATP Kaohsiung Challenger in Taiwan.
Coming through three qualifying rounds to make it to the main draw, the 477th ranked Indian has made all the spadework count, ousting a third consecutive seeded player in second seed Jack Sock of USA 6-7(10), 7-5, 6-3 to romp into the singles final.
Yuki, who was the country’s second highest ranked singles player behind Somdev Devvarman at the start of 2013 before suffering a significant ranking slump, matched the 88th ranked American in all departments of the game and took the opening set into a tie-break, which was a gripping affair and saw the former losing by the skin of his teeth.
The 21-year-old lad was unperturbed by the opening set reverse and kept plugging away, much to the frustration of Sock.
The Indian effected the crucial break of serve in the closing stages of the second set to bag it at 7-5, and set up a thrilling decider.
The zing went out of Sock’s game in the third set. Yuki served solidly and exuded better coverage while Sock committed a plethora of unforced errors.
The Indian breached Sock’s serve early in the decider, and held the advantage to clinch the set and match at 6-3 to set up a final meeting with top-seed and world number 64 Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei.
This was Yuki’s second win over Sock in as many meetings.
The Indian had accounted for the American in the third round of the 2009 Junior US Open.
Earlier, the Indian had scalped fourth seed and 114th ranked Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to storm into the semi-finals.
Yuki had earlier surprised seventh seed and 146th ranked Yuichi Sugita of Japan in straight sets 7-6 (5), 7-5 to sneak into the quarter-finals.
The Indian launched his campaign with a win over another higher ranked player in Israel’s Amir Weintraub. Yuki accounted for the 190th ranked Israeli in straight sets 7-6 (8), 6-1.