Will he get it right the third time? That will be the question on Vishnu Vardhan’s mind when the $10,000 ITF men’s F9 tennis tournament starts at the DLTA Complex here on Monday.
Vishnu will be the top seed for the third week in a row, and look for his second singles title at this level. He had given a good account of himself over the last fortnight, making the finals of the last two tournaments, but has found the second seeds tough to beat in the title round.
While it was the versatile Korean, Young-Jun Kim, a champion at the Challenger events in his prime, who captured the title the first week, it was the turn of the 17-year-old Yuki Bhambri last week when the wiry Delhi lad gave finishing touches to his preparations for the U.S. Open junior event, with his fourth title at home.
There is no doubt that Vishnu has been playing solid tennis, his best ever, but he may have already done a lot of research on how he handled his match against Yuki, when he surrendered from a position of strength.
Wiser with the experience, Vishnu will be keen to set the record straight, though Yuki will not be around, as he has already left for the U.S.
Vishnu could have a tough first round against qualifier Karunuday Singh, who did very well to outplay the Korean Jae-Won Choi in the final qualifying round. Choi had beaten Rohan Gajjar last week in the second round.
Vishnu also finds a solid player, Kento Takeuchi of Japan, in his quarter. The second seed Young-Jun Kim had conceded to Vishnu in the semifinals after six games last week, owing to a knee trouble. If he is fully fit, the Korean would be more than a handful for the whole pack once again.
Eaton below par
The third-seeded Chris Eaton has been below par, and has not been able to produce his best tennis. A player who had won a round in Wimbledon last year as a qualifier, Eaton has Gajjar in his quarter.
There will be a clutch of other Indian players led by national champion, the fourth-seeded V.M. Ranjeet, who would be keen to capitalise on the chances at home to add invaluable ATP points to their collection.
The monsoon has been upsetting the programme, but the organisers have handled the show admirably so far and prepared in right earnest for the final stretch.
The seedings: 1. Vishnu Vardhan, 2. Young-Jun Kim (Kor), 3. Chris Eaton (GBr), 4. V.M. Ranjeet, 5. Rohan Gajjar, 6. Kento Takeuchi (Jpn), 7. Peter Lucassen (Ned), 8. Rupesh Roy.
Wild cards: Akash Wagh, Sriram Balaji, Johnny Arcila (Phi), Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
The results (qualifying event second and final round): Yannick Nelord bt Vedant Kapoor 6-3, 6-3; Seong-Yoon Chung (Kor) bt Saurav Sukul 6-1, 6-2; Young-Jae Kim (Kor) bt Hyun-Soo Lim (Kor) 6-3, 6-3; Abhijeet Tiwari bt Kunal Anand 6-3, 6-1; Karunuday Singh bt Jae-Won Choi (Kor) 6-3, 6-1; Mithun Murali bt Fariz Mohammed 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; Dong-Kyu Lee (Kor) bt Krishik Divakar 6-0, 6-1; Yew-Ming Si (Mas) bt Seung-Jae Lee (Kor) 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.