Yuki Bhambri announced his return to competition by winning the doubles title with Saketh Myneni in the 15,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, here on Saturday.
Yuki and Saketh beat compatriots SD Prajwal Dev and Rishi Reddy 6-4, 7-6(6) in an entertaining final.
It was the second ITF title for Yuki this season, and both have been with Saketh. He had won the last in Lucknow in March. After playing only the doubles event of the Orlando Challenger in April, the 29-year-old Yuki has not played in the professional circuit owing to a recurring knee problem.
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Saketh has also not been competing in the professional circuit for a variety of reasons. He has been laying only doubles and had won the title with Vishnu Vardhan last week in Delhi.
Both Yuki and Saketh served and stroked well, against quality opposition. Saketh was able to step up on his big serves to get the team out of trouble. Yuki was understandably rusty, but was able to show glimpses of his class that had taken him to No.83 in the world in singles.
There was not much cheer for the hosts earlier in the day in singles semifinals, as Dusty Boyer of the US and Zsombor Velcz of Hungary took turns to beat Nitin Kumar Sinha and Ishaque Eqbal.
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In another hard duel, the 22-year-old Nitin battled for two hours and 36 minutes before being beaten 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 by third seeded Boyer who had a strong all-round game. Nitin had done well to win the first set after being down 1-3. He, however, dropped serve rather tamely in the sixth game of the third set, that proved decisive.
Ishaque handled the left-handed Zsombor with competence but a blister on his feet did not let him get a firm grip on the match against the forceful opponent.
Both Nitin and Ishaque had done very well to reach the semifinals past better rated players to assert their fighting spirit and improving game.
Singles (semifinals): Dusty Boyer (US) bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Zsombor Velcz (Hun) bt Ishaque Eqbal 6-3, 6-3.
Doubles (final): Yuki Bhambri & Saketh Myneni bt SD Prajwal Dev & Rishi Reddy 6-4, 7-6(6).