Yuki Bhambri and India's singles challenge came crashing down at the ATP Chennai Open as the the Delhi youngster lost his quarterfinal 3-6 3-6 to fifth seed Canadian Vasek Pospisil, here on Friday.
It was a humongous task for India's big hope Yuki to take on the world number 32 but he was subdued in the 69-minute contest and could never really trouble his rival.
Yuki did set up points by opening up the court but lacked execution. He looked much better in long rallies as his court coverage and control over the shots was good.
But his groundstrokes lacked power to counter a 6'4 feet tall opponent, who was consistent with his serve and packed a lot of punch in his strokes.
In his first match, Yuki did show that he indeed has improved but today's match was a reminder that he needs to become more strong, both physically and mentally, if he has to succeed at this level.
Pospisil will now fight it out with Swiss top seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who made short work of Slovakian Aljaz Bedene 6-2 6-1 to move to the semifinals.
Wawrinka recored his 300th match win on the Tour and also settled his score with Aljaz to whom he had lost to him in the quarterfinals, last year here.
"Someone told me that I am on my 300th win. It is special since I have been on the tour for long and am very very happy. After a good season in 2013, I wanted to be focused in the new season too. I was not so much confident at the beginning of last year but I am very much this year," he said.
"My service was not amazing today but it was good enough to win the match. I am focused to play well." In the Yuki-Pospisil match, the Indian was down by two break chances in the fourth game. He saved the first chance but hit a backhand long on the second to hand Pospisil a 3-1 lead.
As the Canadian consolidated the lead with a comfortable hold, Yuki was feeling the heat. He struggled to get his first serve right, forehands went soaring over the lines and the backhands too did not land where he wanted them to.
A simple volley on Yuki's backhand return gave Pospisil another break chance in the sixth game but his backhand crashed to the net and it was deuce. Another forehand error by Yuki handed his rival another breakpoint but the Indian saved it with a stunning backhand winner down the line.
There was no respite though as seconds later Yuki was facing his third break chance. He charged on the net and hit a voley winner to save that. After a long rally he had his first game point and managed to hold.
Yuki's strokes lacked precision on short points. He realisied that the only way out was to attack Pospisil's backhand and it did bring him dividends.
After trading a break each early in the second set, it was on serve but Yuki could not trouble Pospisil enough.
Earlier, the wild card Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and N Sriram Balaji put up a spirited fight against Croatian team of Marin Draganja and Mate Pavic before losing 3-6 3-6 in the quarterfinals.
In another singles quarterfinals, French seventh seed Edouard Roger Vasselin managed to get the better of Israeli Dudi Sela (ranked 73) 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-0 in two hours and six minutes.