ATP Citi Open: Indian Yuki Bhambri beats 2016 US Open semifinalist Gael Monfils to cause major upset
Indian tennis star Yuki Bhambri beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 at the Citi Open to progress into the last 16 of the tournament.
Monfils, the defending Citi Open champion, looked out of sorts and was duly sent packing by the 200 ranked Bhambri, who will next face Argentine Guido Pella in the third round. Incidentally, it was Pella who knocked out another Indian in the first round of the Citi Open, Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Bhambri, who entered the Citi Open as a qualifier, finds himself in elite company in the ATP 500 event after getting the better of the 2016 US Open semi-finalist, Monfils. The 25-year-old's potential opponents could be Dominic Thiem, Kevin Anderson, Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Potro or Kei Nishikori, should he progress past the third round.
Bhambri started well in the first set and won it 6-3 before Monfils mounted a comeback in the second set. The 30-year-old French star levelled things at the end of the second set by winning it 6-4 but couldn't have the last laugh as Bhambri sealed a tight third set 7-5 to register what was a historic win in his career.
After getting past local lad Stefan Kozlov in the first round, Bhambri sounded upbeat about facing Monfils, saying: "He is the defending champion and a class player. I have nothing to lose."
The match panned out as Bhambri had predicted, with the Indian showing no fear against his more accomplished opponent. Monfils found Bhambri at his carefree best, the Indian even displaying some fine tennis en route the historic win.
Monfils, the defending champion and sixth seed, had been expected to breeze his way past his Indian opponent but Bhambri had other ideas as he registered one of the biggest upset wins of his career.
With his win, Bhambri is the only qualifier remaining at the Citi Open. However, things aren't getting any easier for the 25-year-old as the top five seeds have all made it through to the third round.
Should he beat Pella, Bhambri will face either top seed Thiem or the 15th seeded Anderson. His third round clash is scheduled for tomorrow as India awaits another moment of glory for Bhambri.
The Citi Open is a hard court tournament held in Washington DC.