The Hindu : Bhambri gets into his groove, ousts Uchida

Nagal and Vijay Sundar also ease into second round; Ramkumar and Polmans slug it out

The 1-4 score in the second set, after he had pocketed the first, did not seem to ruffle the seasoned professional in Yuki Bhambri, the third seeded Indian in the KPIT-MSLTA $50,000 Pune Challenger.

Acclimatising and going through the tennis drills here for three days had prepared the six-footer for the week’s challenge, and he showed glimpses of his multi-dimensional skills and craft while quelling the challenge posed by Japanese qualifier Kaichi Uchida. Bhambhri won 6-2, 7-5.

Coming into the Pune event after decent displays in the Moscow and Ho Chi Minh City Challengers, Bhambri was the clear favourite.

Bhambri quickly got his act together to break back and level the second set 4-4. A net charge and a delectable drop shot saw Uchida’s hit sail over the baseline, and victory was his in one hour and 18 minutes.

Sumit Nagal was the first of the five Indians drawn for action at the Centre Court on Tuesday and he showed a lot of perseverance and purpose while putting it across Austrian Lucas Miedler 7-6(1), 6-0.

After slugging it out for 15 minutes in the 10th and 11th games of the first set, Nagal won the 12th game without conceding a point and dominated the tie-breaker.

The 20-year-old Nagal hardly put a foot wrong in the second.

Gaining entry as a lucky loser, Vijay Sundar Prashanth looked the part against the 19-year-old Aryan Goveas.

Handful of points

After taking a short medical break to treat an eye problem, Goveas won a handful of points with solid serves, but these points came too late in the day to change the course of the match against a very experienced rival.

India No. 2 Ramkumar Ramanathan and Marc Polmans engaged in a top quality tussle for two hours and 56 minutes before the No. 4 seed posted an incredible 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(9) win.

After sharing the first two sets on tie-breaker, the fate of the third hung largely on sheer willpower, and on this count Ramkumar turned out to be better, and eventually lived to fight another day, winning the energy-draining decider on another tie-breaker.

The results (first round):

Sumit Nagal bt Lucas Miedler (Aut) 7-6(1), 6-0; Yuki Bhambri bt Kaichi Uchida (Jpn) 6-2, 7-5; Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Aryan Goveas 6-3, 6-4; Blaz Kavcic (Slo) bt Geoffrey Blacaneaux (Fra) 6-4, 6-4; Brydan Klein (GBr) bt Pedro Martinez (Esp) 6-2, 6-3; Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) bt Borna Gojo (Cro) 6-2, 6-3; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Marc Polmans 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(9); Pedja Krstin (Srb) bt Antoine Escoffier (France) 6-4, 7-6 (5); Ante Pavic (Cro) bt Arjun Kadhe 7-6(5) , 7-6(4).

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