Bengaluru: Sumit Nagal, ranked 219 places below the Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, could not have justified his last minute entry into the main draw via a wild card in a better manner than to show the top seed the door in the quarterfinals of the US $100,000 Bengaluru Open 2017, an event on the ATP Challenger Tour being held at the KSLTA Courts here on Thursday.
The Delhiite took just 76 minutes to emerge as a 6-3, 6-4 winner and will now meet compatriot Yuki Bhambri in the semifinals. Bhambri, seeded third, took one more step closer in his attempt to register a back to back victory, quelling the challenge of Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the last four stage.
In the other quarterfinals, Tsung-Hua Yang of Teipei stopped the progress of lucky loser Antoine Escoffier 6-4, 6-4 while Jay Clarke of Great Britain overcame Ante Pavic of Croatia 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1). The respective winners will face off in the second semifinal.
Nagal, who took on the top seed didn’t have any expectations out of the match. “I wasn’t thinking anything before the match. I just wanted to play some good tennis,” said the 20-year-old who has never reached the quarterfinal stage of the many Challenger events he has played thus far.
After both the players held on their respective serves, Nagal achieved the crucial break in the fourth game to go 3-1 up from where he didn’t look back and took the first set 6-3.
Nagal was quick on the court as Kavcic depended heavily on his serves. After both the players had broken each other in the first two games, the former broke again in the third game, thanks to a double fault by Kavcic and went 2-1 up. Both the players held their respective serves as the diminutive Nagal clinched the set and match 6-4.
In the other match which oozed of power, Bhambri and Gunneswaran went hammer and tongs from the word go while holding on to their respective serves until the tenth game. Bhambri had to pull out all his experience to counter the attack and managed to achieve a break in the eleventh game. Serving for the set, the Delhi lad was two break points down and came back to win the set.
In the second set, Bhambri seemed to be in much better control as he broke the Chennai based player’s serve in the first and fifth games to take the set and the match.
Meanwhile in the doubles semifinals the top seeded pair of Mikhail Elgin of Russia and Divij Sharan overcame the third seeds N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 to reach the final where they will meet Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov of Croatia, who were 7-6 (3), 6-4 winners over Bosnian Tomislav Brkic and Croatian Ante Pavic.