Yuki Bhambri provided a brilliant performance to steamroll local hero Ramkumar Ramanathan as he walked into the second round of the ATP Chennai Open with a commanding 6-1 6-1 win in Chennai on Tuesday.
Having lost crucial six months last season due to tennis elbow injury, Yuki made a good impression early in the season as he literally toyed with Ramkumar, who disappointed with his lacklustre show.
It was the most-talked about match from India’s perspective, considering that country’s best singles players were playing but the match never rose to the expectations.
Even as Yuki’s real test begins now since he plays better opponents, qualifying for the main draw and then advancing to the second round would boost his morale. He also proved that the faith posed in him by selectors, who picked him in the Davis Cup squad despite his low ranking, that if he is fit, he is country’s best singles player.
“Yuki played some smart and aggressive tennis. I struggled with my first serve. It was one of my bad days, I don’t want to talk much about it. Yuki played solid, he had the initiative from first game, I had no first serve,” Ramkumar said.
“I had chances in the opening game of the second set when the guy hit two double faults but I was too defensive. He played clever. I need to go back and train hard. I know I have disappointed the audience,” he said adding that he will take a few days off.
Ramkumar said he would strive to play more Challengers as he aims to make the Australian Open qualifiers.
In the entire 52-minute match, Yuki lost only seven points on his serve, out of which two in the opening set, and had wild card entrant Ramkumar scurrying for cover. The Delhi lad broke his Davis Cup teammate thrice to race away with the opening set in just 26 minutes.
Yuki, playing his first match on the ATP World Tour since his first round loss in Dubai in February, had measured Ramkumar’s court movement early into the match and had no hesitation to approach the net to finish the points quickly.
Opening the court was never a problem for him with Ramkumar far away from presenting a good challenge.
A lot has been expected from the young Chennai lad but he has disappointed in recent times by fizzling out too early in the matches. TNTA has supported him well in his transformation years but Ramkumar needs to work harder on his game and fitness to repay the trust posed in him by the Association.
More than anything he needs to sort out his head and play with a big heart, which he possesses but somehow has not been able to work with.
Ramumar’s trademark inside-out forehand was nowhere to be seen with Yuki having the match in his grip. In the second set, Yuki lost five points on his serve even as he faced a breakpoint in the very first game before saving it.
Yuki next plays fifth seed and world number 47 Benoit Paire, who pipped Russian Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3 6-4.
In other matches of the day, eight seed Yen-Hsun Lu from Taipei outplayed Moldova’s Radu Ablot 6-2 6-1 while Britain’s Aljaz Bedene fought past Russia’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-3 6-3 in his opening round.
Also advancing to the second round was Argentina’s Renzo Olivo, who faced stiff resistance from wild card Casper Ruud from Norway 7-6(3) 6-2.