Yuki Bhambri threw down the gauntlet. But, on Friday, Somdev Devvarman was unable to take it up.
"It was one of my better, if not best, wins," said the 21-year-old from Delhi, who was the in-form player going into the match. "Self-belief is a big part of my game. And today I knew I had to be confident on the court and go for the lines if I had to beat Somdev."
Even though Devvarman did, as he is now expected do, a good job retreiving a lot of balls, and moving Bhambri from corner to corner, his replies lacked the depth necessary to keep Bhambri on the back foot for long enough. Once on the attack, especially on that wicked forehand, Bhambri soared to a higher level.
Most of Devvarman's problems, however, were borne out of a misfiring serve. Only 52 per cent of his first serves landed in and he held only three of his service games in the match. "That's really bad for a professional player," he rued.
An open invitation to attack his second serve was rarely turned down by Bhambri.
The second set saw seven breaks of serve, with Devvarman fighting hard to keep up. But the Delhi player, who admitted he had been tiring towards the end, picked up his level again in the last two games.
The Indian is up against qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev in Saturday's final.
Kudryavtsev, who beat fellow Russian Evgeny Donskoy 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the other semifinal, is going to be a different kettle of fish. The big-built Russian, like most Russians, has a crazy streak, likes to flatten the ball go on the attack.