Vishnu Vardhan emphasised his growing confidence with a resounding 6-3, 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Daniel Cox of Britain in the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF men's Futures tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.
Second-seeded Vishnu, who reached his second successive final, will face Rohan Gajjar. The latter got past a resurgent V.M. Ranjeet 7-6(3), 6-2 in the other semifinal.
The 24-year-old Vishnu, playing the best tennis of his career after sharpening his returns and improving his court-craft and speed, got off to a flying start. He continued from where he left off against Vijayant Malik in the previous round, when he won 12 games on the trot after letting Malik hold serve in the first game.
At 5-0 in the first set, Vishnu was on a 17-game winning streak, spread over two matches, when the Briton recovered to hold serve at love. Cox won the next two games too, capitalising on Vishnu's uncharacteristic errors. The Indian, however, served strongly to seal the first set in the ninth game.
In the second set, a ruthless Vishnu dropped just four points in his service games, including the one that went to deuce. He broke Cox in the seventh game and accelerated to the finish with remarkable assurance.
Vishnu, Rastogi win
Later, Vishnu partnered Karan Rastogi to capture the doubles title with admirable ease against Sriram Balaji and Malik. After winning a Challenger title a few weeks earlier, clinching a Futures crown was not that big a challenge for the top seeds.
The challenge will, however, be quite serious for Vishnu in the singles final against eighth-seeded Gajjar. Big serves and crisp shots helped Gajjar take a 5-2 lead before he missed five set points. With his second serves bang on target, Gajjar rallied in the tie-break in which he hit forehand winners with relish to tilt the balance.
In the second set, Ranjeet, who had played with energy and enthusiasm till then, was unable to lift himself to the same level. In the sixth game, Gajjar produced some spectacular winners to go up 4-2 and sealed the issue with a delectable drop volley.
In the final, Gajjar will be keen to improve his 1-3 head-to-head record against Vishnu, while the latter will be eager to showcase his confidence and craft yet again.
Singles (semifinals): Rohan Gajjar bt V.M. Ranjeet 7-6(3), 6-2; Vishnu Vardhan bt Daniel Cox (GBr) 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles (final): Karan Rastogi & Vishnu Vardhan bt Sriram Balaji & Vijayant Malik 6-1, 6-3 .