Ilija Bozoljac brought another version of himself to Saturday’s final. One that Russian Evgeny Donskoy found no similarity with the player who was three games from losing 0-6, 0-6 on Friday. The Serbian won the State Bank of India ATP Challenger Tour $50,000 event 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes.
By his own admission, Bozoljac loves an aggressive game. But having seen that spectacularly misfire against top seed Aleksandr Nedovysov in the penultimate round, he switched to concentrating on prolonging rallies. He did the same against Donskoy who, going into the final, had lost only one set --- to Somdev Devvarman in the semi-final.
Bozoljac’s explanation sounded more like that of a coach than a champion who got richer by 80 points and $7,200 minutes earlier. “He (Donskoy) didn’t want to change nothing. He wanted me to adjust to his game and that is why it became so easy. Tennis is about making compromises. Yesterday, I completely shrunk my ego…. Today, he didn’t want to do that,” said Bozoljac.
I Bozoljac of Serbia reacts during the ATP Challenger Tour Semifinal match against Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan. (PTI Photo)
Broken in the first and third games, Donskoy soon trailed 0-4. The forehand winners that stopped Devvarman in the semi-final for the second straight week weren’t coming off maybe because his service game was seriously suffering. Devvarman, who got R 1 lakh from the Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) and R 1.25 lakh from a sponsor for breaking back into the top 100, saw a player far removed from the one he played.
Barring at deuce in Game 3, there were no real rallies at the BTA complex. Bozoljac won his first service game at love and the fourth at 30 courtesy two double faults. He also fired two aces. In all he fired 11 aces but also made six double faults.