Fast-mover's quick progress

Vasek PospisilVasek Pospisil of Canada celebrating after beating India's Yuki Bhambri during a quarter final of men's singles of ATP Chennai Open 2014 in Chennai on Friday. PTI

Vasek Pospisil is a man of beautiful contradictions. A self-proclaimed addict of coconut water, the 23-year old from Vancouver says that he chugs down a little over two litres of Thirsty Buddha (exotically named cans of an exotic drink in Canada) a day at home. Yet, in a tropical land where it is sold fresh in its shell at almost every street corner, Pospisil has abstained from it. "In Chennai of all places, I don't know why I haven't had a sip yet this week," he says, looking rather puzzled. "I really don't."

The contradictions are almost as stark on a tennis court. For a man who stands nearly two metres tall, Pospisil doesn't serve big. It's not small either, not with the bounce he generates and the angles he creates. It's just that Pospisil's serve, peaking at about 200 kmph, doesn't hold a candle to the other giants in the game today.

"I'm never going to blow my opponent off the court with my serves like a Milos (Raonic) or an Ivo (Karlovic)," he says, matter-of-factly. "But this can be a good thing. I need other strengths to be firing on any given day. It could be anything. Returns, court coverage, forehands even. When all three fire together, I know it's going to be a good week for me."

Yuki Bhambri will tell you that on Friday, all of those aspects came together. And came together well. Playing in his first ever ATP quarterfinals (third round at the Chennai Open essentially), Bhambri was out-hit, out-thought and outclassed by a superior opponent in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. The total number of games won (six to Bhambri, 12 to Pospisil) suggests that the Indian must have been at least half as good as the man ranked 32 in the world. But this wasn't the case.

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