Thompson ends long drought to win Chennai title

Glenn Valencich

Jordan Thompson has hit form to end a long-running drought and claim an ATP Challenger title in Chennai on Saturday.

The Australian struggled in his home summer of tennis, losing in the first round in Brisbane and Sydney and at the Australian Open.

The world No.107 was subsequently dropped from the Davis Cup team by Lleyton Hewitt, who opted to hand a debut to teenager Alex De Minaur and pair Matthew Ebden with John Peers in the doubles.

But the top seed Thompson turned it around in India, never dropping a set on his way to the final.

He won the championship and a US$7200 prize with a 7-5 3-6 7-5 defeat of home hope Yuki Bhambri in two hours and 37 minutes.

Bhambri, the second seed, held a match point in the third set but Thompson's serve came up big at the right time after he recorded seven double faults across the first two sets.

"I was on the back foot in the third set but I managed to scrape back," he said, as reported by the Times of India.

"I got a little lucky on Bhambri's match point but I hit him deep and it paid off.

"My serve was a bit of a problem today but I didn't panic. I think I made up for my double faults with the two aces in the end."

The title was Thompson's fifth on the second-string Challenger tour and first since October 2016, having lost three finals last year.

The 23-year-old's most recent attempt at silverware before Chennai was a heavy defeat -- 0-6 1-6 -- to German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in Vancouver.

Earning 80 points with the win over Bhambri, Thompson returned to the top 100 in the latest ATP rankings release.

He is slated to be the No.2 seed -- behind countryman John Millman -- in this week's Challenger tournament in Kyoto, Japan.