Bhambri, Rastogi advance to round 2 after tough struggle

Pune: Top seed Yuki Bhambri, number 4 Karan Rastogi and fifth seed Vijayant Malik battled their way into the second round of the USD 15,000 Solaris ITF Men`s Futures Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

Bhambri appeared on way to a facile first round victory over German James Marsalek, when he led 6-0, 4-1 before a lapse in concentration enabled his rival to bounce back and take the second set into a tie-break.

Bhambri eventually won the tie-break 8-6 to cruise into the second round after a 70-minute stay on the court.

"I just lost it temporarily, and then found it a bit tough, but then I`m happy to come back strongly in the tiebreak," said Yuki after the victory.

Rastogi had an even tougher time to quell the challenge of of N Sriram Balaji, after a rousing battle that lasted nearly two and a half hours. The fancied player, a Davis Cupper, won 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4.

Rastogi broke Balaji in the 9th game of the first set and then held on to clinch the set.

In the second set, Balaji raced to a 5-2 lead, before Rastogi fought back to draw level at 5-all and then forced a tie break.

Balaji hit an array of winners on both flanks, to easily grab the tie-break and levelled the set score.

In the deciding third set, Rastogi broke his rival in the eighth game, after Balaji served a double fault and then held serve to make it to round two.

Malik prevailed over qualifier Jason Jung of USA in a topsy-turvy match, full of breaks of serve.

In the longest match of the day that saw as many as 14 service breaks, Chandigarh`s Malik prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), after being on the court for 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Sixth seed Ranjeet Virali Murugesan got past Spaniard Jaime Pulgar-Garcia 7-5, 6-1, while winner of the previous leg at Chennai, Saketh Myneni, easily disposed off Indian compatriot and qualifier Kunal Anand 6-3, 6-1.

Second seed Junn Mitsuhashi of Japan, who was troubled by an old leg-injury, retired after losing the first set 7-5 and trailing 0-1 against another Spanaird Ivan Arenas Gualda.

Lucky loser Maqdas Abdulla of Kuwait advanced to round two, after outlasting Spaniard Roberto Ortega Olmedo 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in a match full of rallies.


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