Thompson and Bhambri to play for the title in Chennai.

Tennis - Constant Lestienne and Maximilian Marterer are the last men standing in Cherbourg

by Jovica Ilic
Thompson and Bhambri to play for the title in Chennai.

* Chennai, India, $50,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : 23-year-old Jordan Thompson kicked off the season with three straight losses in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne and he decided to return to the Challenger level in order to gain form and the points.

Chennai Challenger was a nice opportunity for that, entering as the top seed and advancing to his 11th final at this level, the first since Vancouver last summer. Jordan needed an hour and 25 minutes to beat the Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-1 7-6, saving three out of four break points and converting all three chances he gained on Martinez's serve. Despite facing more break points than his rival Thompson was more effective on both the first and second serve and he controlled the scoreboard almost all the time.

He won 12 of the opening 14 points to race into a 3-0 lead and he moved 5-1 in front with another break in game six. The set was already decided and Jordan played a loose service game while serving for the set, saving three break points before he closed the opener 6-1.

20-year-old Spaniard lost his serve again in the fifth game of set number two but he played better than in the previous set and he pulled the break back in game eight to level the score at 4-4 and reach the tie break. It was a close one but Jordan won the last three points to claim it 7-5, reaching the final when Pedro sent a forehand long in that 12th point.

The second seed and home favorite Yuki Bhambri toppled the young Korean Duck Hee Lee 7-5 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes for his 11th Challenger final. The Indian lost just 11 points in 10 service games, never facing a break point and keeping the pressure on Lee who was broken three times from five chances he gave to Bhambri.

The first saw competitive tennis and Duck Hee Lee saved a break point in game nine to remain in front. On the other hand, Yuki sailed through his service games and he got the break in the 11th game and that was all he needed to take the opener 7-5.

The Korean struggled more on his second serve in set number two and he was broken in games three and seven to find himself 5-2 down before Bhambri closed the match with a hold at love a few minutes later. * Cherbourg, France, €43,000+H (Indoor Hard) : Constant Lestienne received a wild card to enter the main draw and it was a great move from the organizers as he advanced to his third Challenger final, the first since San Benedetto in July 2016.

Constant defeated an in-form German Mats Moraing 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 7 minutes, saving all six break points he faced and breaking Mats on both break points he earned. It was the worst possible start for the German, netting a forehand in the second game to drop his serve and he had no chance of pulling it back by the end of the set.

The Frenchman claimed the opening set with a volley winner in the ninth game and he was hoping for more of the same in set number two. Moraing had the perfect opportunity to earn an early break in game two but he wasted five break points, letting Lestienne close the game with a forehand cross court winner.

Mats was punished in the very next game, sending a forehand long to lose serve and find himself a set and a break down. Constant fends off a break point in game four to cement his break and he sailed through the rest of the set with commanding holds.

He held at 15 in game nine to reach the final after a poor volley from Moraing at the net and he will crack the Top 300 for the first time since July. Semi-final results:


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Constant Lestienne Maximilian Marterer