Thompson trumps Bhambri to win Chennai Open Challenger

Yuki Bhambri had a chance to clinch the title but squandered the opportunity and Jordan Thompson proved to be the better player, albeit by a thin margin 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, of the evening.

In a closely-contested tie, top-seed Jordan Thompson roared past Yuki Bhambri for his fifth career Challenger title.   -  PTI

Saturday's Chennai Open Challenger final had all the ingredients of a nerve-wracking title clash; the top two seeds in action, multiple breakpoints, a missed matchpoint opportunity and hard-hitting end to end action.

In a closely-contested tie, top-seed Jordan Thompson roared past Yuki Bhambri 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in three gruelling sets to lift the Chennai Open Challenger trophy, his career's fifth Challenger title. Bhambri had a chance to get his hands on the winner's cheque but it was Thompson who proved to be the better player on the evening, albeit by a thin margin.

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Bhambri was at his dominating best to begin the first set and attacked Thompson's backhand extensively to go two breaks up and race ahead to a 3-1 lead. However, a determined Thompson had plans of his own as he fought back with great vigour to take the next four games.

The Indian put up a valiant display and staged the first love-hold in the tenth, but made many an unforced error as Thompson sped away with the next game and broke the Indian's serve for the second time to claim the set in a few minutes shy of an hour.

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Much like the first set, it was the 112-ranked Bhambri who got off to an excellent start and scoured two big breaks to lead the second set 4-2. The difference, however, was that the Delhi lad managed to hold on to his momentum this time around and played a delightful forehand approach shot to script a second set win and take the tie to a deciding third set.

The deciding set was simply a spectacular affair of breaks. The Aussie broke Bhambri’s first two service games to put up a 3-0 lead in quick time, but the top-ranked Indian clawed his way back in style to break twice to get back on level terms at 3-3. Buoyed on by a few sparse chants from the 100-odd spectators, Bhambri found the lines on the crucial points and broke yet again, surging to a 5-4 lead.

The former Australian Open juniors winner was on the cusp of closing in on his seventh Challenger title when he earned a match point in the tenth game, but he squandered the opportunity. With his back to the wall, Thompson, displaying his class, rained in two massive aces to hold on.

Bhambri was made to sweat and had little to offer as he surrendered the next game, giving his opponent a chance to serve for the title. The Aussie made no mistake and gathered his nerves to pocket a hard-fought final in two hours and forty-five minutes.