Niki Poonacha sustained his strong game and beat Jacob Bradshaw of Australia 6-3, 7-6(5), in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the RK Khanna Stadium on Friday.
The 27-year-old Niki got off to a flying start as he played sensibly and mixed up his game even as his opponent submerged himself in a heap of errors.
However, the Aussie fought on even terms in the second set. Niki was serving for he match after breaking serve in the 11th game, but dropped serve following two double faults. There was no danger as Niki raced to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break and closed it after the Aussie bridged the gap to 4-6.
In the semifinals, Niki will play Yusuke Takahashi of Japan who beat the third seed Vladyslav Orlov of Ukraine 7-6(5), 6-3, with a solid game from the back court. Takahashi was so sharp with athleticism and strong strokes that Orlov gave vent to his frustration by smashing his racquet across the court thrice after losing the first set.
Umpire Parikshit Sharma had no option but to slap a code violation on Orlov, for racquet abuse.
Top seed Evgeny Donskoy was a delight to watch as he played a high-quality fare in subduing sixth seed Eric Vanshelboim of Ukraine 6-4, 6-0. The 32-year-old Donskoy who was ranked a career best 65, ten years ago and had beaten Roger Federer in the second round of Dubai in 2017, broke the resistance of Vanshelboim by breaking his serve in the seventh game of the first set. He faced only one breakpoint in the match.
In the semifinals, Donskoy will play the Korean qualifier, 19-year-old Yunseok Jang who eased past Siddharth Vishwakarma for the loss of five games. Yunseok converted four of seven breakpoints against the erratic Siddharth and saved the only breakpoint he faced in the match.
There was some more cheer for the Indian camp, as Parikshit Sharma and Manish Sureshkumar made the doubles final.
Singles (quarterfinals): Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) bt Eric Vanshelboim (Ukr) 6-4, 6-0; Yunseok Jang (Kor) bt Siddharth Vishwakarma 6-2, 6-3; Yusuka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Vladyslav Orlov (Ukr) 7-6(5), 6-3; Niki Poonacha bt Jacob Bradshaw (Aus) 6-1, 7-6(5).
Doubles (semifinals): Parikshit Sharma & Manish Sureshkumar bt Nitin Kumar Sinha & Arthur Weber (Fra) 6-3, 6-3; Francis Casey Alcantara (Phi) & Pruchya Isaro (Tha) bt Yunseok Jang & Woobin Shin (Kor) 6-7(3), 6-2, [10-6].