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Yuki Bhambri ensured that Arjun Kadhe’s ATP Tour level debut would last just one match as he beat him 6-3, 6-4 in the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Tuesday. India’s highest-ranked player will now meet France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round.
It wasn’t quite the schooling one had come to expect from Bhambri, for he was well below his best. His serving speed wasn’t up to the mark and he missed more shots than he would have liked to while going for the lines. Still, as he had stressed prior to the start of the tournament, getting through the initial round was crucial not necessarily of the manner of it.
In the opening set, Bhambri broke to go 2-1 up but let Kadhe restore parity immediately. It was however the only sniff he would allow as he broke twice more to clinch the set.
The World No. 118 changed direction almost every shot and seldom provided the wild-card the time to impart the penetrative power on the ball. When Kadhe did find an opening, he mostly overcooked his shots.
Kadhe’s serve was a liability throughout. He served five double faults to Bhambri’s zero, including three in the ninth game of the match which cost him the first set. Bhambri was particularly severe on the local boy’s second serve, winning 17 of 25 points. However it was to Kadhe’s credit that he didn’t throw in the towel.
At the start of the second set, he even managed to endanger Bhambri’s serve, hitting a few winners of his own while Bhambri’s unforced errors touched uneasy levels. Serving at 3-4, he went 0-30 down but managed to wriggle out. However, Bhambri stepped it when presented an opportunity the next time, by taking the set 6-4.
Earlier in the day, Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka dismantled Sumit Nagal 6-3, 6-3. The 20-year-old, also making his first-ever ATP Tour-level main draw appearance., was never in the match, winning less than half of his service points.
The Belarusian needed only one break of serve to take the first set and when he broke in the first game of the second, Nagal wilted. He cut a frustrating figure and often remonstrated — both with himself and the chair umpire. Even the presence of his mentor and India’s Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi among those cheering him didn’t help.
The results: First round: Yuki Bhambri bt Arjun Kadhe 6-3, 6-4; Ilya Ivashka (Blr) bt Sumit Nagal 6-3, 6-3; Robin Haase (Ned) bt Blaz Kavcic (Slo) 7-6(6), 7-5; Lasio Djere (Srb) bt Marius Copil (Rou) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5; Thiago Monteiro (Bra) bt Ruben Bemelmans (Bel) 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(8).
On Monday: Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Roberto Carballes Baena (Esp) 7-6(4), 6-2. Doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Kevin Anderson (Rsa) & Jonathan Erlich (Isr) 3-6, 6-3, [10-5]; Robert Lindstedt (Swe) & Franko Skugor (Cro) bt Marton Fucsovics (Hun) & Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) 6-4, 6-1; Roman Jebavy & Jiri Vesely (Cze) bt Radu Albot (Mda) & Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-4, 6-3.
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