Dominant Yuki tames Kadhe, Nagal exits

Dominant Yuki tames Kadhe, Nagal exits

Pune: Yuki Bhambri asserted his class over a promising Arjun Kadhe even as young Sumit Nagal's ATP World Tour debut ended in a tame defeat at the TATA Open Maharashtra here on Tuesday.

Bhambri, country's top-ranked singles players, outplayed wild card and local boy Kadhe 6-3, 6-4 in his opening round tie. He will now fight it out with eighth seed Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who battled past Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (4), 6-7 (2), 6-2 in a gruelling season-opener.

Nagal's unbeaten streak of seven matches was halted by fellow qualifier Ilya Ivashka as the Indian bowed out with a 3-6, 3-6 defeat in his first round.

Nagal, ranked 223, came into the match after winning the Bengaluru Open and two qualifying matches here for his maiden ATP World Tour event. He struggled to contain unforced errors against the Belarusian, placed seven places below him.

Kadhe had nothing to lose and went for his shots but uncontrolled aggression did not trouble Bhambri. The Delhi player maintained a tight control over the proceedings with his superior game. He returned everything Kadhe threw at him and found some superb winners.

Bhambri, ranked 118, broke Kadhe in the third game only to drop his own serve in the next but wrested back the initiative with another break in the fifth.

The fearless approach of Kadhe, who returned to Pro circuit after graduating from the University of Oklahoma last year, though was appreciated by local fans who kept chanting his name in the battle between the two Indians.

Kadhe packed a lot of power in his backhand but Bhambri did not give him many short balls to take advantage.

In the entire first set, Bhambri lost only four points on his serve. Kadhe, serving to stay in the set, served three double faults in the ninth game and handed the set to his rival by hitting a forehand long on the second set point.

In the second set, it was Kadhe who got the first break in the third game but Bhambri made it even-stevens by getting back the break immediately. Kadhe needed something extraordinary to turn the tide. He had the strokes and the heart to fight but lacked experience.

It was Bhambri's 11th win in a row at this venue, having won the Challenger event in 2015 and 2017.

Bops-Jeevan score

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan's remarkable progress as a doubles player came to the fore as he and Rohan Bopanna began the defence of their title by knocking out Leander Paes and Purav Raja.

The left-hander from Chennai came out firing on all cylinders as they beat their unseeded rivals 6-3, 6-2 to progress to the quarterfinals.

Jeevan, now ranked 102, stood out with his well- calculated lobs and precise strokeplay, making a huge difference to the outcome of the match.

Results: Round 1: Singles: Robin Haase (Ned) bt Blaz Kavcic (Slo) 7-6 (6), 7-5; Yuki Bhambri (Ind) bt Arjun Khade (Ind) 6-3, 6-4; Ilya Ivashka (Bel) bt Sumit Nagal (Ind) 6-3, 6-3; Laslo Djere (Srb) bt Marius Copil (Rom) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. Doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert (Fra)/ Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Kevin Anderson (Rsa)/ Jonathan Erlich (Isr) 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.

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