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Australian Open 2017: Yuki Bhambri through to second round of qualifying, Myneni crashes out

The initial rounds of qualifying are currently underway in Melbourne.

Bhambri (L) and Myneni have been teammates on India’s Davis Cup squad in the past

India saw mixed luck today at the qualifiers for the Australian Open 2016 as top ranked singles player Saketh Myneni, who is on the back of a fairly strong 2015 season, lost out to Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk, but Yuki Bhambri progressed to the second round. 

Myneni loses out

29-year-old Saketh Myneni, who at 199 is India’s only top-200 singles player and was the frontrunning representative for India in the singles, lost out today in the first round of qualification to Peter Gojowczyk of Germany in straight sets, tumbling 0-6, 2-6.

Gojowczyk, a former top-80 ATP singles player, took Myneni to break point on eight separate occasions, successfully breaking five times. He also played a relatively error-free game to Myneni, who committed three double faults during the course of the 41-minute match. 

The two players, who were relatively close on the ATP rankings, both have similar frames and playing styles, but Myneni has had his struggles with cramping and injuries in the past. In the 2016 season, the Indian progressed through qualification at the US Open, mounting, and eventually going down in a solid battle to Czech then-top 50 player Jiri Vesely before he was overcome by cramps. 

Given a long-term period to work on his fitness, Myneni could better his Slam results in the future. 

Bhambri progresses

Considered one of India’s biggest singles stars, Yuki Bhambri took a convincing victory over his higher-ranked opponent Stefan Kozlov of the United States of America. Kozlov, the 7th seed in the qualifiers, is, at 116th , 418 spots ahead of Bhambri on the rankings, but the Indian returned exceptionally in his qualifying match this morning to make progress. He took his rival to break point fourteen times, with six successful breaks of serve against his younger opponent. 

Bhambri last made the main draw of the Australian Open in 2015, when he tumbled to Andy Murray in straight sets. His results today are impressive, especially given the relative ranking of his opponent and his own struggles with injury that have delayed his much-vaunted return to the Tour. 

The 24-year-old will now play Pedja Krstin of Serbia, who is currently ranked 216th. The 22-year-old, like Bhambri, has also been active on the Challenger and ITF Futures Tour, and also relies on a right-handed two-handed backhand. 

A former top-100 singles player, Bhambri will hope to mount a significant return in the 2017 season and return to full-time tennis, should fitness permit. He will now have two more rounds of competition with qualifiers before he can progress to the main draw. 

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