Yuki makes winning start
Bengaluru: India's top men singles player Yuki Bhambri continued his fine show and defeated compatriot Sriram N Balaji in straight sets to make an emphatic start to his campaign at $100,000 Bengaluru Open, here on Tuesday.
Yuki, who had won the Pune Challenger last week, lived upto his third seed billing and defeated Balaji 6-3 6-2 in the relatively easy first round encounter.
Yuki had clinched his first title of 2017 on the ATP Challenger Tour after registering a come-from-behind win over compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final of the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune. Yuki is currently ranked 122nd in the world after he had registered a win over Frenchman Gael Monfils and pushed Denis Shapovalov and Kevin Anderson to deciding sets in the Davis Cup and Citi Open respectively. He was ranked 474th at the start of the year.
But in a major setback for Indian fans, leading contender Saketh Myneni had to withdraw from the tournament owing to a nagging right shoulder injury. He has been replaced by lucky loser Antoine Escoffier. "I had this injury and I tried hard for a couple of days but I don't want to take any risk," Myneni said. Meanwhile, it was curtains for Indian wild card entrants Vishnu Vardhan and Suraj Prabodh as they lost their respective men's singles matches in straight sets to crash out in the opening round.
Coming into the tournament after facing an early exit at KPIT Challenger in Pune, Vishnu lost 3-6 3-6 against Spain's Mario Vilella Martinez while Suraj was shown the door by fourth seed Elias Ymer of Sweden 4-6 6-7 in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event. Suraj, who played the Australian Open Juniors, was the runner-up in the recently-held National Championship. Meanwhile, top seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina's Tomislav Brkic 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in a tough 3-setter to enter the second round.