Wild card entrant Yuki Bhambri and Tamil Nadu’s Ramkumar Ramanathan sprang surprises by upsetting higher-rated players to enter the second round of the ATP Chennai Open here on Tuesday.
Yuki, ranked 195 in the world, took 76 minutes to stun the 64th ranked Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-4 6-3 in the opening round to set up a clash against third seed Fablo Fognini of Italy in the pre-quarterfinals.
But the bigger surprise came when, Ramanathan, a qualifier, defeated India’s biggest hope Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 to advance into the second round. After Ramkumar, ranked 526 in the world, took out the Slovakian Norbert Gombos in a two-hour battle in the last round of qualifiers on Monday, it was expected that he would run out of steam against the fancied Somdev.
Somdev, who was runner-up in the event in 2009, looked to be on course after taking the first set 6-4 but he lost his rhythm and momentum as Ramkumar stormed back to clinch the next two sets to progress. Yuki may make the quarterfinals without taking the court as his next opponent, Fogini, who was partnering Indian ace Leander Pace, has pulled out from the men’s doubles event due to a strain in his left leg.
A statement from the orgainsers read that Fogini has withdrawn from the doubles event due to an injury. Fognini is likely to take a call on his situation by Wednesday evening.
In a day of upsets, Russian qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev packed off eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in a long 107-minute tussle. Kudryavtsev beat the 58th ranked Spaniard 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and will now play Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the next round. Yuki, a rising star in Indian tennis, was at his attacking best and concentrated on playing to his strength. He was was broken only once in the match. The Delhi lad, who made the prequarterfinals last year too, lost to Janko Tipsarevic.
Yuki kept up his game and eventually wriggled himself free from tough situations which enabled him to win the tie. As the match started, Yuki broke Busta in the third game but was broken back. He then broke the Italian in the ninth game to pocket the opening set.
In the second set, Yuki maintained his form. Yuki broke the Spaniard in the third game of the second set and never let the advantage slip before sealing the set and the match.
Results: Men: Singles (first round): Ramkumar Ramanathan (Ind) bt Somdev Devvarman (Ind) 6-4, 3-6, 4-6; Benjamin Becker (Ger) bt Julian Reister (Ger) 6-4, 2-1 retd; Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) bt Roberto Bautista (Esp) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Aljaz Bedene (Slv) bt Henri Laaksonen (Fin) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(7-0); Yuki Bhambri (Ind) bt Pablo Carreno (Esp) 6-4, 6-3; Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) bt Albert Ramos (Esp) 6-1, 6-3.