Yuki Bhambri asserted his class as he beat the top-seeded Bradley Klahn of the US 6-7(13), 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the $50,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Traralgon, Australia, on Monday.
Resuming at 2-4 in the third set, the eighth-seeded Bhambri raced through, after the final had been disrupted by eight rain interruptions on Sunday.
It was the second Challenger title for the 21-year-old former World No.1 junior, and Bhambri was understandably elated and rated the title a lot better than the Fergana Challenger that he had won in Uzbekistan last year.
“It feels fantastic because, I beat guys ranked much higher than me like Tatsuma Ito, James Duckworth and Klahn, to whom I had lost earlier. I was pleased with the way I hung in patiently after missing four set-points in the marathon tie-break in the first set’’, Bhambri told The Hindu, after his triumph over the 123rd ranked Klahn, that helped him jump 73 places to reach 204 in the latest ATP rankings issued on Monday.
The title was worth 80 ATP points and $7200, while the runner-up collected 48 ATP points $4240.
“To stay calm and composed through all those rain delays and play better in the next two sets, and not be satisfied with just being in the finals was incredible’’, said Bhambri.
It has been an impressive season for Bhambri who has worked his way through the Futures events, after injuries had seen a big dip in his rankings.
He had dramatically jumped 190 places by reaching the final of the $125,000 Challenger in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei. Travelling with trainer Nasir Ahmad since August has paid rich dividends as Bhambri has been able to overcome the fitness issues.
“The trainer definitely deserves a lot of credit’’, said Bhambri, the Youth Olympics silver medallist who had given a hint of his prowess by winning the Australian Open junior title.
Though he has entered the ITF Futures tournament scheduled to be held back home in Delhi from November 11, Bhambri said that his main focus was to do well in the Australian Open Asia Pacific wild card play-off event scheduled to be held in China from November 18.
Apart from his two Challenger singles titles, Bhambri has also won eight Futures singles titles.