Yuki Bhambri did his confidence a world of good as he tamed Ramkumar Ramanathan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the KPIT $50,000 Challenger men’s tennis tournament in Pune on Saturday.
It was the sixth Challenger singles title for the 25-year-old Yuki, and his first in two years that have been a struggle for the major part with injuries. The 23-year-old Ramkumar was left wondering as to when he would win his maiden Challenger, which he so richly deserves.
Yuki has been more solid on his return and has been travelling with his trainer Abhimanu Singh, which has paid rich dividends. The tennis acumen is ingrained in his system, and Yuki has grown into a powerful player who can hurt the top players.
Yuki had not dropped a set along the way. He had beaten Ramkumar 6-1, 6-1 at the start of the season in the Chennai Open ATP Tour event.
On the other hand, Ramkumar had perspired to a three-set victory in three tie-breaks in the first round, and kept improving to be at his assertive best in the semifinals against Saketh Myneni, who had beaten the top seed.
In the final, Ramkumar served more aces, but Yuki capitalised on the chances to pull through. When Ramkumar put a volley out on matchpoint, Yuki was understandably delighted and jumped for joy, punching the air in celebration.
It was Ramkumar who had beaten Yuki in the first of their three meetings, and this time, it was the first time the two fought on even terms in a final.
Yuki pocketed $7,200 and 80 ATP points that should boost his rank from No.137, while Ramkumar had to be content with $4,240 and 48 ATP points. He also should improve rank from No.150.
The players move to the $100,000 Bengaluru Open next week, for bigger rewards.
The results (finals):
Singles: Yuki Bhambri bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles: Tomislav Brkic (BIH) & Ante Pavic (Cro) bt Pedro Martinez & Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) 6-1, 7-6(5).