Braving the scorching heat and a top-seeded opponent, Vishnu Vardhan looked like a player with immense purpose and fortitude on Friday. The 22-year-old, who has been around the Indian tennis circuit for quite sometime now, fought out of his skin — he was four-match points down in the second set — to make it to his first career ITF final, beating Raven Klaasen of South Africa 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-2 in the semifinal of the BHEL $15,000 ITF Futures tournament at the DLTA.
After a long gap, it will be an all-Indian finale in an ITF tournament as Vardhan faces junior Australian Open champion Yuki Bhambri. The Delhi lad, too, entered his maiden ITF final outclassing Japan's Masato Hatanaka 6-4, 6-4.
Vardhan, who hails from Andhra, felt Friday's victory was just what he needed to shape up his career. “Being in my first ITF singles final feels good,” said Vardhan. “I needed to play like I did today to take my career one step forward,” he added.
The Andhra boy, fresh from his training at the prestigious Nick Bolletieri Academy in Florida, did a splendid job at hitting his groundstrokes and winners. “Conditions in Florida are really difficult. The winds are so strong you can't even toss a ball properly. Playing in heat in much better,” said Vardhan.