20-year-old Sumit Nagal put up a masterclass to stun the third seed and India No. 1 Yuki Bhambri in the semi-finals of the $100, 000 Bengaluru Open held on the hardcourts at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association grounds on Friday. Nagal needed just 1 hour 7 minutes to brush aside Bhambri, 6-4, 6-0.
In the summit clash on Saturday, the World No. 321 will take on the 279th ranked Jay Clarke of Great Britain.
Nagal upset the top seed in quarters
Bhambri came into this match on the back of an eight-match winning streak, having triumphed at the Pune Challenger just last week. In the three matches that he played at Bengaluru, he did not even drop a set.
After enduring a season ravaged by an elbow injury, Yuki made a remarkable comeback in 2017 and had very much been showing the form that took him to a career-high 88th in 2015. From outside the 500s, he stormed back into the top 140 and seized the India No. 1 position again.
The 137th ranked Bhambri was thus very much the favourite going into this semi-final match against Nagal.
But the former junior Wimbledon doubles champion had other intentions. Nagal thrashed the top seeded Blaz Kavcic in the quarter-finals a day earlier and brought that form into the semi-finals too.
Nagal was the first to break that sent him up to 4-2 in the first set. The resilient Bhambri responded with two breaks of serve. However, Nagal was prepared for it and sealed the set by making in-roads into Bhambri’s serve thrice.
The next set was all Nagal as the youngster put on a show that was beyond his age. He did not face even one break point whereas Yuki struggled on his serve, conceding as many as three breaks.
Sumit finished with a total of 60 points while Bhambri had to be content with just 40. This is the first time that he has reached the final in any ATP Challenger tournament.
Jay Clarke had stunned Ramkumar Ramanathan earlier
Much like Nagal, Jay Clarke too has been a giant-killer at this tournament. The British player accounted for the Pune Challenger runner-up Ramkumar Ramanathan in three sets earlier in the second round.
He did not face much trouble in dismissing Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-Hua Yang, 6-3, 6-4 in the other semi-final of the day. Clarke earned four service breaks and won a total of 65 points in this match.Published 24 Nov 2017, 19:07 IST