Australian Open 2018: Yuki Bhambri qualifies for main draw
The 25-year-old became the first Indian singles player to qualify for the Grand Slam.
What's the story?
25-year-old Yuki Bhambri has booked a spot in the main draw of the Australian Open after beating Canada's Peter Polansky 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final qualifying round that was held in Melbourne.
In case you didn't know...
The 2018 Australian Open will be the 106th edition of the competition, which will be played out from the 15th of January and will culminate on the 28th of January 2018.
Bhambri, who has already tasted international success, has the 2009 Junior Australian Open title under his belt and will be looking to endure a good season, having bowed out in the first round of the same competition in 2015 and 2016.
Heart of the Matter
A 2014 Asian games medallist, Bhambri fought off stern competition from his adversaries in the qualifying stage to stake a claim in the main draw, which is set to feature top-flight stars such as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Yuki, along with Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan was one of the only three Indian singles players in the qualifiers and took on Spaniard Carlos Taberner in the qualifiers, who he easily brushed aside by a 6-0, 6-2 margin in 57 minutes to set up a do-or-die clash with Canada's Peter Polansky for a spot on the big stage.
The World No.122 seed, in the final round clash. warded off an early threat of dropping a set against the Canadian, breaking Polansky twice in the second set to set up a dramatic deciding decider.
After a scintillating final set, Bhambri pounced on the one chance he received to break, and converted it into a well-deserved victory in the end, sealing a spot in the main draw for the third time in four years.
The Indian contingent has a chance to book another spot in the main draw through Ramkumar Ramanathan, who will battle it out against Canada's Vasek Pospisil in the final qualifying round.
The 25-year-old Bhambri has done well to seal his spot in the main draw and it will be interesting to see how he transforms his game and brings his best to the table against some top stars as he looks to put the ghosts of his past in the background.