Citi Open: Yuki Bhambri progresses, Ramkumar Ramanathan exits
In a tale of contrasting fortunes for India’s top two tennis stars, Yuki Bhambri made it to the second round of the Citi Open but Ramkumar Ramanathan exited the Washington DC tournament on Monday. Bhambri advanced when Stefan Kozlov retired, trailing 5-7, 0-2 while Ramanathan was beaten 4-6, 1-6 by Guido Pella.
The former junior Australian Open champion has a tough challenge up next as he faces the sixth seed and defending champion Gael Monfils.
Both the 182nd ranked Ramanathan and the 200th ranked Bhambri had earned their places in the main draw of this ATP 500 level tournament through qualifying. They were on course for a pre-quarter-final showdown.
Yuki had 65% first serves in and broke his young opponent a total of four times in his first round match.
Kozlov, the 19-year-old rising American, had the better start out of the two and quickly raced to a 3-1 lead as the Indian struggled to find his rhythm. In a topsy-turvy opening set, the momentum kept on oscillating as the two traded five service breaks.
Bhambri, whose 2016 season was ravaged by an elbow injury, managed to strike the decisive blow to inch ahead to 6-5 before grabbing the opener.
The World No. 132 American looked to be in discomfort right from the start of the second set and called it quits after playing for 1 hour 11 minutes giving Bhambri a chance to record his maiden win at the ATP 500 level.
The 100th ranked Pella, meanwhile, proved an insurmountable barrier for the 22-year-old Ramanathan, who conceded four breaks of serve after making inroads into the Argentine’s serve in the very first game of the match.
Bopanna and Mirza seek doubles titles
Apart from singles, there are two Indians playing in this joint ATP and WTA event that is a part of the US Open Series.
World No. 21 Rohan Bopanna will seek his fortunes in the men’s doubles section alongside Donald Young of the USA. The wildcard pair kicks off their campaign against veterans Daniel Nestor and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
On the WTA side, Sania Mirza has teamed up with the 2017 Wimbledon runner-up Monica Niculescu and the two are the top seeds. The pair, who won the New Haven title in 2017, has received a first round bye.