On the brink of becoming a full-time professional, Yuki Bhambri made the biggest kill of his life when he toppled top seed Illya Marchenko in the second round qualifiers of the Chennai Open on Sunday.
The wiry 18-year-old from Delhi, who won the junior Australian Open last year, came back from 1-4 down in the first set to beat Ukraine’s Marchenko 7-6 (2), 6-3. He faces Louk Sorenson of Ireland in the final qualifying game.
“I had a slow start again,” said Bhambri. “But I hung in there. Obviously I will take a lot of confidence from this match since I beat the top seed (ranked 120); it’s the biggest win of my life.”
Prakash Amritraj had earlier, on the same court, scripted an unlikely come-from-behind victory over Canada’s Peter Polansky. Unlike the deceptive power of Bhambri, the 26-year-old was a livewire on the court. Though barred from playing for India in the Davis Cup, he was still a hit with the Chennai crowd who came out in numbers to see Amritraj battle back to life.
He saved five match points to beat the Canadian 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9) over two hours and 31 minutes and set up a clash against Germany’s Lars Poerschke.