Yuki Bhambri reached his first ATP Challenger semi-finals of the season after Argentina’s Agustin Velotti retired midway into their quarter-final match at Zhuhai on Friday.
Bhambri was in a strong position, leading 6-1, 2-1, when Velotti withdrew, giving the unseeded Indian the semi-final spot. The Arentine cited fatigue as the his reason for retiring in only 47 minutes, reported PTI.
“He was tired, he said he played long matches and therefore was tired,” Bhambri told PTI after the match. “I am happy. It’s really tough tournament and even harder when you are not seeded. Just trying to keep my head down and staying focussed. Hope, I can keep pushing and working hard and make most of the opportunities.” he added about his semi-final appearance.
The 24-year-old Indian tennis player is making a comeback after missing much of the 2016 season with a tennis elbow injury. Coming into the Zhuhai Challenger, he had won a Futures title and was part of the Indian team that beat New Zealand 4-1 in the Davis Cup tie in Pune. He also qualified for the Chennai Open in January and won his opening match in the main draw, and then reached the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open before bowing out.
However, Bhambri has put up an impressive perforamace in Zhuhai, dropping only nine games on his way to the semi-finals, including a second-round win over fifth seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, according to the ATP website.
“I’m always trying to make changes to stay healthy now. I’m trying to train harder, but also take more breaks in the schedule throughout the year. The elbow is totally fine now, though. I’m still wearing something for protection, but there’s no pain,” he told ATP.
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