Bonzi will next face Botic van de Zandschulp, the second seed, against whom he has lost twice previously. Bonzi, who has a great deal of respect for the abilities of his opponent, anticipates a difficult semifinal match. Benjamin Bonzi was in blistering form on the Challengers circuit in 2021.
The Frenchman won six tour titles, three of which came in consecutive tournaments, beginning in February of that year. He was the first player since Mikhail Youzhny in 2016 to accomplish this rare feat. Together with Facundo Bagnis (2016), Juan Ignacio Chela (2001), and Younes El Aynaoui (1998), he became the only player in ATP Challenger history to win six singles titles in a single season.
If Bonzi had not lost to James Duckworth in straight sets in the final of the 2020 Bengaluru Open, the run might have started exactly one year ago. The world number 60, who admitted that “Every time is a good time in India,” wants to go one step further and win his first ATP title at the Tata Open Maharashtra with yet another great run in the country.
In his opening match at the Mhalunge Balewadi Tennis Complex in Pune, Bonzi defeated Chun-Hsin Tseng 6-0, 6-3, before shocking Emil Ruusuvuori, the tournament’s third-seed, in the round of 16. The 26-year-old continued his remarkable form late on Thursday night, defeating world number 54 Filip Krajinovi in the quarterfinals 7-6 (5), 6-4.
In the first set, he made more breakpoint chances before holding his nerve in the tiebreaker. In the second set, Bonzi outperformed the other player and broke serve three times to advance to the Tata Open semifinals. “It was a difficult battle. I had numerous opportunities to break and breakpoints. In the first set, it was difficult. With the new balls, I did it.
After that, I had to serve for the set, but he came back, and we were tied hard in the tie-break. The same thing took place in the second set, which featured numerous lengthy rallies from the baseline. In an interview with Hindustan Times following the match, he stated, “It was tough, but in the end, I won the match and another one tomorrow.”
Bonzi lost to Andrey Rublev in his first ATP semi-final in 2022 at the Open 13 in Marseilles. A few months later, he made an incredible run to the semifinals of the Mallorca Championships without dropping a set, but Stefanos Tsitsipas, who would go on to win the tournament, stopped him once more.
“The conditions here make me feel good. I had never been to the Centre Court before this. In India, every time is a good time. I made it to the finals in Bengaluru three years ago, and now I’m in the semi-finals of this ATP competition.
“This year, I want to win one tournament. Last year taught me a lot, and this year I’m more dangerous in those tournaments. It’s been a great start to the season, so let’s keep fighting.”
After that, Bonzi, who has won seven Challengers Trophies throughout his career, talked about the different levels of tennis that are played in ATP tour events.
“It’s hard to win against challengers. The fact that you can compete against the best players even in the first round makes the ATP events stand out significantly. You can’t enter these tournaments if you’re not in good shape.
Second-seeded Botic van de Zandschulp will be Bonzi’s next opponent. Bonzi has lost to van de Zandschulp twice before, losing 4-6, 7-5 at a Challenger event in Hamburg in 2020 and 6-7(6), 6-7(1) in Winston Salem. Bonzi, who has a great deal of respect for the abilities of his opponent, anticipates a difficult semifinal match.
Being in the semifinals is fantastic. We practiced a few times together, so we are very familiar with one another. He defeated me last year. I am aware that he is a very tough player who plays very well from the baseline. He accomplishes everything admirably. Despite the fact that it is a semi-final, it will be difficult.”