Australian Open tennis: India’s Yuki Bhambri loses to Marcos Baghdatis in first round | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Australian Open tennis: India’s Yuki Bhambri loses to Marcos Baghdatis in first round

India’s Yuki Bhambri lost 6-7 (4), 4-6, 3-6 to 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in first round of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

tennis Updated: Jan 15, 2018 16:41 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Melbourne
Australian Open,Yuki Bhambri,Marcos Baghdatis
India’s hopes at the Australian Open tennis tournament suffered a jolt on Monday as Yuki Bhambri lost his first round match to Marcos Baghdatis 6-7 (4), 4-6, 3-6. (Twitter )

Yuki Bhambri struggled to rein in his unforced errors and played well only in patches as his third Australian Open tennis appearance ended with a straight-set first-round defeat at the hands of a seasoned Marcos Baghdatis, on Monday.

The 25-year-old Indian qualifier, ranked 122, had his chances against world number 103 Cypriot, but unforced errors cost him the match 6-7(4) 4-6 3-6 after two hours and nine minutes on court number eight.

(Read | Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens crash out of Australian Open tennis)

Bhambri is yet to win a round in the main draw of a Grand Slam and the Australian Open is the only Major he has played.

In 2015, when he came through the qualifiers, Bhambri lost to Andy Murray. In 2016, when he made the cut after breaking into the top-100, he drew Tomas Berdych and again failed to go beyond the first round.

It was a good chance for Bhambri to improve his record but a staggering 33 unforced errors to just three of Baghdatis meant that his good work of the past few weeks could not yield him a good result at the big stage.

(Read | US Open champ Sloane Stephens out, Jelena Ostapenko into 2nd round at Australian Open)

Bhambri took a break, seconds before the start of the match, much to the amusement of Baghdatis and broke the Cypriot in the very first game, securing the best possible start.

However, the Indian dropped serve in the fourth game with the two players struggling o adapt to the windy conditions.

(Read | Serena Williams’ absence is the headline of the women’s draw at the Australian Open 2018)

Bhambri rushed on to the net quite often even as Baghdatis preferred to strike from the baseline. The strategy worked for Bhambri, who yet again broke his rival in the fifth game, only to lose his serve in the very next game.

The Cypriot, a finalist here back in 2006, remained a crowd favourite and the chants of ‘Go-Go Baghdatis’ kept reverberating through the court.

However, it was Bhambri who again took the lead by breaking Baghdatis in the ninth game. Bhambri hit a stunning forehand winner to earn three breakpoints and converted the second when Baghdatis hit a backhand wide.

(Read | Bernard Tomic slide continues with Australian Open tennis failure)

However, he yet again failed to capitalise and dropped serve while serving for the set. In the tie-break too, Bhambri raced to a 3-1 lead but unforced errors cost him dearly and he went on to lose the opening set.

Both the players managed to contain their errors a bit in the second set and there was just one break of serve in the entire second set.

It was the Cypriot, who got the break at 4-4 and served out the set in the next comfortably, taking a commanding 2-0 lead.

To Bhambri’s credit, his percentage tennis improved but not cashing on one break point he got early, pegged him back.

It was a massive task for Bhambri to erase a two-set deficit. He saved a break chance in the fifth to continue to remain in the lead. However, Baghdatis did not let the Indian save any chances in the seventh.

At 30-30, Baghdatis hit a forehand service return winner to earn his first break point but Bhambri served well to save that.

At deuce, Baghdatis again earned a break point when Bhambri charged at the net. The Indian eventually dropped serve by netting his backhand.

The match was as good as over for Bhambri at that point before Baghdatis completed the formalities.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 14:58 IST