It's going to be an India-Pakistan final. And for a change, we are not talking about cricket in New Delhi.
Aqeel Khan from Pakistan beat Purav Raja 6-1, 6-4 while Pathanjali Ravishankar beat Yuri Bezeruk from Australia 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the semi-finals of the ITF Satellite Circuit second leg in New Delhi on Friday.
Yuri Bezeruk seems comfortable playing long matches under the sun. But today his body couldn’t take it. Pathanjali started poorly with a much slower game and a lot of unforced errors.
The two hour 41 minute match seemed to have become one-sided as Bezeruk won the first set 6-3. Pathanjali started the second set with more vigour and energy as he broke Bezeruk in the first game. The Indian could not capitalise on the lead as he was broken back in the next game.
At 3-2 in the second set, Bezeruk started off strongly serving an ace. But, the next double fault made it even. Pathanjali grabbed the opportunity and hit two winners down the line, clinched the game and broke Bezeruk. He went on to win the second set 6-3.
The third set was similar to the second. Pathanjali began with a break in the first game, the scoreline going from 15-0 to Advantage Pathanjali. Bezeruk, as vocal as ever, showed his frustration by hitting the ball out of the court.
In the next game, Bezeruk was pulled up for ball abuse as he hit another ball out of the court at 30-30. Bezeruk called the tournament referee on court and argued his case, but the violation remained.
Pathanjali followed up with a good serve and Bezeruk questioned the serve asking the umpire if the serve was not a violation. Pathanjali seemed annoyed with all the fuss, then hit an ace to win the game.
Pathanjali had saved his best game for the last and sealed his victory by picking a fast, swinging serve from Bezeruk while the Australian’s return found the net.
In the other semi-final, Aqeel Khan had it easy as Purav Raja could not reproduce the form he had shown in the quarter-final. To compound his agony, Raja had blisters on his right foot.
Results (SF): Aqeel Khan bt Purav Raja 6-1, 6-4; Pathanjali Ravishankar bt Yuri Bezeruk 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.