Not too long ago — the last week of December to be precise — Karan Rastogi convincingly beat Hyun Hoo Nam to clinch the ITF Men's Futures. However, at this week's event, third-seeded Rastogi - who has been recently called up to the Indian Davis Cup squad -crashed out in the semifinals 4-6, 6-7 (3) to Bulgarian Todor Enev.
The 21-year-old Indian made a jittery start to the match and was broken in the first game itself. After making it 2-0 in the next, a superb forehand return from the Bulgarian left Rastogi stranded. Enev earned himself two breakpoints and despite Rastogi saving one, a double fault on the next gave the Bulgarian a 3-0 lead.
Although at one point of time it seemed like Rastogi would strike back after he held his serve and also managed to break Enev twice, to level the score at 4-4, his poor returns cost him dear.
Enev, who was once the second ranked juniors' player in the world, came up with some brilliant winners to close out the set. Rastogi's cause was not helped by a number of unforced errors either.
Rastogi seemed pumped up in the second and took an early lead of 2-0, coming up with several well-executed returns. But Enev broke back soon after to level the set at 5-5 and take it to a tiebreak. Enev dominated the tiebreak with ease, taking it 7-3 to move into the final.
Enev will now meet Russian eighth seed Alexender Kudryavtsev, who thrashed Nam Huyn-Woo 6-0, 6-4 in the other semi, for the title on Saturday.