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Australian Open 2018: Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan advance to second round of qualifying

253   //    10 Jan 2018, 23:25 IST

2017 Citi Open
Yuki Bhambri

India had mixed fortunes as the qualifying rounds of the 2018 Australian Open got under way at the Melbourne Park on Wednesday. Only Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan managed to get past the first hurdle but Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran fell by the wayside.

World No. 121 Yuki Bhambri needed 1 hour 48 minutes to dismiss the challenge of the 185th ranked Brayden Schnur. The India No. 1 could hardly pose any threat to the Canadian in the opening set, but he rebounded well after that to register a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

The 15th seeded Bhambri, who had a narrow pre-quarter-final loss at the Maharashtra Open last week, had a flawless break point conversion rate and found success on all three of the chances that he got. That was the big difference between him and Schnur, who could only manage to convert three out of eight opportunities.

The former junior Australian Open champion will next face World No. 183 Carlos Taberner of Spain for a place in the final qualifying round.

Ramanathan makes a big comeback

World No. 141 Ramkumar Ramanathan, meanwhile, had to work much harder to secure his place in the second round. The 23-year-old was heading towards the exit after trailing by a set and 3-5.

The 28th seeded youngster then showed nerves of steel to regroup from the brink and eke out a 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 6-2 win in 2 hour 4 minutes.

Ramkumar hammered 10 aces and made a total of 27 winners. He won 78% points on his second serve which definitely aided in his comeback. The Indian, who too reached the pre-quarter-finals at Pune, next takes on World No. 156 Gleb Sakharov of France.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran squandered a good start to slump to a 6-4, 1-6, 2-6 loss to Germany’s Tobias Kamke.

Bangalore Challenger winner Sumit Nagal levelled matters after losing the first set but failed to continue the momentum in the decider. The 20-year-old went down 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6 to Italy's Alessandro Giannessi in a marathon encounter that lasted 2 hour 14 minutes.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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