Bhambri in second round, Vishnu loses in Chennai Open

Chennai: Indian wild card entrants suffered mixed luck as Yuki Bhambri entered the second round while his compatriot Vishnu Vardhan waged a grim battle before losing in three sets in the ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament on Monday.

Bhambri shocked higher-ranked Karol Beck of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 to set up a second round clash against top seed Janko Tipservic of Serbia. Vishnu lost 6-4, 6-7, 1-6 against Croatia`s Ivan Dodig, seeded fifth in the tournament and ranked 36 on world chart.

Had Vishnu made the next round, it would have been the first time in the 17-year-long history of the tournament that the two wild card Indians entering the second round.

Winning the first set 6-4, Vishnu, who played a tight game and never relented in moving upfront for winners, led 6-5 and was serving for the match in the 12th game, when the Croat saved two match points.

Vishnu lacked the killer instinct and lost the match for his sheer inexperience as against Dodig.

In a tie of equal chances with the rivals not willing to give away, Vishnu had his chances of winning the encounter as five of his match points were saved by birthday boy Dodig, who put up his hands with aggressive play to win the second set on his second set point.

As for Vishnu, it was a case of brilliant display having to play his first ATP tour match but failed miserably when needed to tighten his grips.

After the rivals held on to their serves in the first set, Vishnu`s decision to cash in on the first of opportunity to go for the break happened in the tenth game, which helped him to win the set.

However, there were signs of Vishnu winning the second and the match but Dodig, who has been rollicking in top-50 for the third straight season, started bringing his strong stroke-play to perfection suddenly and saved two match points in the 12th game.

This was the turning point in favour of the Croat whereas Vishnu was reeling under pressure.

Saving two match points, Dodig drifted the set to tie-break and Vishnu was also equal to the task but his failure to maintain the momentum after coming up with scintillating floating drives and powerful serves to good effect undid his good work.

Dodig converted a short volley and levelled the scores 6-6 and 8-8 before winning the tie break.

Displaying tremendous variations in pace and game plan, Bhambri, ranked 345 to Beck`s 101, eked out his second men`s tour win after defeating the Slovakian in 79 minutes in front of a sparse crowd at the Centre Court.

It was tough going for Bhambri as he won the match only on his seventh match point after Beck failed to put across the Indian`s cross-court forehand return.

Bhambri, who had earlier won a first-round tour match in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2010, was in his elements today and played a waiting game to race to a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game and then led 5-2 with another break.

However, his serve was broken in the eighth. But the Delhi-boy held on to his smart serves and wrapped up the first set with his third break.

The Indian, a world junior title winner in Australia, won the match that was also helped by a series of unforced errors by Beck.

In the first set, Beck made few errors and created room for Bhambri to score points. Beck also fared poorly in winning points on serves but upped his game in the second set.

Bhambri maintained the momentum in the second set, broke his rival in the fourth game, held his fifth and played powerful tennis in the sixth to lead 5-1.

Beck tried to make a comeback in the seventh when Bhambri was up on winning the match at 6-2 but lost three match points. The Indian finally managed to win the ninth game and the match.

French star Benoit Paire and Israeli ace Dudi Sela set up a second round clash after scoring fluent victories over their respective rivals.

While Paire beat Spaniard Pere Riba 6-2, 6-1, Sela defeated World No 48 Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-0, 6-1 in their first round matches.


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