Yuki, Vishnu in their first final on the circuit

April 24th, 2009 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Vishnu Vardhan rallied from the brink, saving four match points in the second set, to stun top seed Raven Klaasen and now plays Yuki Bhambri in the final of the $15,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) BHEL Futures here Friday.
Fifth seed Vardhan overcame the South African 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-2 for his first final on the men’s circuit while Yuki continued his run of straight-set victories as an erratic Masato Hatanaka of Japan made his job easy losing 4-6, 4-6.

Vardhan showed remarkable tenacity as he fought back after losing the first set to the crafty Klaasen. He was a break down early in the second set and faced two match points in the tenth game. The tall Hyderabadi held his poise and broke back to make it 5-5 and then forced the set into a tie-break.

The Indian was again up against two match points, but he held his nerve to wriggle out of the tight spot and make it a set-all.

In the decider, Vardhan was full of confidence, dictating the course of play. He broke Klaasen in the fifth and the seventh games to win the set and the match.

In the clash between Yuki and Hatanaka, both were error-prone, but the 16 year-old Delhi youngster was a shade better in playing the big points on a hot and windy day.

The junior Australian Open champion broke his Japanese opponent in the third game and should have taken the set in the ninth game but Hatanaka saved two break points with fine returns to hold serve.

The Japanese struck back with vengeance in the next game with Yuki saving six break points before serving out the set.

Yuki broke Hatanaka in the ninth game of the second set and held his serve in the next to close out the match in an hour and half.

Vishnu, who had thrashed Yuki 6-1, 6-0 in their last meeting in a Challenger here, said he is expecting a tough contest Saturday.

“Yuki has really improved in the last one year. He is serving big and hitting his strokes well. It is definitely not going to be easy,” Vardhan said.

“I had a great match against Klaasen. He is a clever player with a variety of shots. I just kept the ball in play to save the four match points. I concentrated on my first serve in the third set and that worked for me.”

Klaasen was also on the losing side in the doubles final as he and his partner Yuichi Ito of Japan were beaten by Indians Ashutosh Singh and Narayanswamy Sriram Balaji 7-6 (1), 7-6 (7).

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