Melbourne: Yuki Bhambri, all of 15 years old and playing in the Australian Open junior championship here for the first time, displayed tremendous maturity and impressive skills from the back of the court to outlast the British third seed Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in the boys singles quarterfinals on Thursday.
Bhambri, dictating points from the baseline with powerful forehands and a double-handed backhand, promised to take the match in straight sets as he opened up a 4-2 lead in the second. But the English teenager, cheered on from the No.7 court stands by such luminaries as John Lloyd, the former British Davis Cupper, and John Curry, a former President of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, won four games in a row to knot up the match.
But eighth seeded Indian broke through to 3-2 and then raised his level of play on his service game to make sure there would be no escape routes left for Evans. Increasingly frustrated, the Briton’s desperation saw him make a clutch of errors when serving to stay in the match in the ninth game.
Evans slammed a forehand into the net and on his first matchpoint Bhambri cruised home as his opponent followed that up with a backhand error.
Bhambri will play the Australian Bernard Tomic in the semifinals. Tomic, seeded five, upset the top seeded Mexican Cesar Ramirez of Mexico 6-4, 6-3.
India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and his partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, who played a superb match on Wednesday night to oust the top-seeded Americans Bob and Mike Bryan in three tight sets in the men’s doubles championship, looked a bit listless on Thursday afternoon as they were beaten in straight sets by Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel.
The eighth-seeded Israeli pair found an early break in both the sets to post a routine 6-4, 6-4 semifinal victory over Bhupathi and Knowles, the sixth seeds.
Bhupathi and Sania Mirza will play Nathalie Dechy of France and Andy Ram of Israel in the mixed doubles semifinals on Friday.
Erlich and Ram will play the seventh-seeded Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the final.
The Frenchmen beat Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie of South Africa 6-3, 7-6(9) in the other semifinal.