The Telegraph
Sunday , February 16 , 2014
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Ilija thumps Evgeny

Ilija Bozoljac with the trophy, on Saturday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: For someone who lost the first nine games of a three-setter semi-final tie, the chances of making it to the final looks virtually impossible. But for men like Ilija Bozoljac, the word ‘impossible’ does not even exist.

Looking down and out in the semi-final against top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov, the Serb turned things around remarkably to reach the final. And then, he simply toyed with Russian Evgeny Donskoy, the third seed, taking just 58 minutes to knock him out and win Saturday’s final 6-1, 6-1 to emerge champion of the State Bank of India ATP Challenger, here, at the BTA complex.

Bozoljac doesn’t even feature among the top 250 and was unseeded here, which makes his achievement all the more special. Well and truly, the script has been an unbelievable one for him.

The way Bozoljac scripted a comeback on Friday against the top seed, it was clear that Donskoy would have a tough time even though he had lost just one set going into the final. In the very first game of the match, Donskoy lost his serve, courtesy unforced errors from him and an awesome backhand winner from Bozoljac.

Unlike the semi-final against Somdev Dev Varman, Donskoy’s forehand turned out to be his weak area, as it just couldn’t come to terms with his rival’s approach. As and when Bozoljac wished, he was able to slow down the pace, unleashing both forehand and backhand winners, together with passing shots that left Donskoy clueless.

Besides, Bozoljac’s big serves, too, fell in place, making matters worse for his opponent. Yes, he made as many as six double faults in the match. But there were 11 aces served to ensure the game doesn’t slip. And Donskoy, on most occasions, found it extremely difficult to come up with a return, which was a hallmark of his game till Saturday.

Bozoljac’s major concern was his temperament and tendency to lose concentration, which hurt him to a fair extent in the semi-final. However, that aspect was taken care of in the match that counts. And as a result, there was no stopping Bozoljac.