Bengaluru, February 14: Tennis was the ultimate winner at the KSLTA courts as all the singles quarterfinals went till the wire in the US $ 162,500 Bengaluru Open with Italian Julian Ocleppo setting the trend while ousting his fancied opponent and 13th seed Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in a grueling three-setter which lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes with 22-year-old emerging as a 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 winner.
Another seed bit the dust in the form of No.3 Yuichi Sugita of Japan who went down to unseeded Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(5), 5-7, 4-6. Bonzi now meets second seed Stefano Travaglia of Italy who overcame a stiff challenge from 11th seed Blaz Rola of Slovakia before prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in 1 hour and 56 minutes.
Ocleppo faces another stiff hurdle in the semifinals where he is pitted against fourth seed James Duckworth of Australia who overcame ninth seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.
Ocleppo was down 2-5 in the opening set after he got broken early in the second game. However, he came back strongly to win three games on the trot to tie at 5-5 and take the set into a tie-breaker which he won. “My comeback in the first set was very crucial because the match could have ended by the second set,” said Ocleppo. After the opponents had traded a break each in the 3rd and 4th games, Ocleppo lost the tie-break even as he had two breakpoints.
A stiff battle ensued in the decider with none giving their rival an inch of their ground. The Italian, who was on a breakpoint in the ninth game, hit an awesome down the line shot to surge 5-4 ahead. “That was my best shot of the match today and it was very crucial,” said the winner who held on to his serve to win the match. “I know Ivashka very well both personally and about his game. It is tough to return his serves and he is a very good player who could have won this tournament. I served very well today and once I got used to returning, it became a little easy. I am doubly happy to have beaten him,” said Ocleppo.
Meanwhile, a clinic for juniors was held were around 40 children attended the session with leading pro Niki Ponnappa giving them the tips. Their joy doubled when their idol Leader Paes too joined them.
Results: Singles (Quarterfinals): Julian Ocleppo (ITA) bt  Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4;  James Duckworth (AUS) bt  Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2;  Stefano Travaglia (ITA) bt  Blaz Rola (SLO) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) bt  Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4
Doubles (Semifinals): Matthew Ebden (AUS) / Leander Paes (IND) Vs.  Jonathan Erlich (ISR) / Andrei Vasilevski (BLR); Saketh Myneni (IND) / Matt Reid (AUS Vs.  Purav Raja (IND) / Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND).