Wild card Sanam Singh led the Indian charge by knocking out top seed James Duckworth even as Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman were clinical enough to enter the singles quarterfinals of the Delhi Open, here today.
Ranked 464, Sanam Singh humbled his Australian opponent 3-6 7-5 6-3 in just under two hours in the second round of the USD 100,000 ATP Challenger tournament at the R K Khanna tennis stadium.
Diminutive Sanam was struggling initially but reined in his unforced errors just in time to stop the 112th ranked Duckworth, who had reached the second round of the Australian Open last month.
Sanam, who has arguably the best hands in the current Indian lot, dropped serve twice to surrender the opening set but managed to break the Australian in the 11th game in the tight second set to draw parity.
Talking about the initial hiccups, Sanam said,”I was missing easy balls from the mid court. It was going to my head. I kept telling myself to hold the serve. Had I lost that game (sixth) in the second set, I could have lost the match.”
Asked what he did to turn it around for him, Sanam said,”The key was to hold the serve.”
Sanam will now clash with compatriot and country’s top singles player Somdev Devvarman, who outplayed Croatia’s Nikola Mektic 6-4 6-2 in 72 minutes.
Giant-killer Yuki registered yet another dominating victory with a 6-3 6-3 scoreline against Egor Gerasimov from Belarus.
“It was not easy. I still had to work to get those breaks. Playing at the Australian Open instilled belief in me that I belong here. Now I am comfortable playing at this level,” Yuki said after his win.
Asked what difference he found in the two rounds he has played do far, Yuki said,”In the first round, I knew I had to be the retriever because that guy was solid in hitting. But today I could control the pace of the game. I returned well.”