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French Open 2018: Rohan Bopanna makes a winning start, Yuki Bhambri crashes out

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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309   //    30 May 2018, 11:54 IST

2018 Australian Open - Day 14
Rohan Bopanna

In a tale of contrasting fortunes for Indian players, Rohan Bopanna made a thunderous start to his campaign at the French Open in Paris on Tuesday, but Yuki Bhambri crashed out. Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, seeded 13th, needed just 1 hour 3 minutes to pummel the young American combine of Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-1.

The Indo-French pair were at their dominant best and won a total of 67 points to the Americans’ 44. They converted four out of the 14 break point opportunities they got.

The Americans stayed at par with their seeded opponents till 2-2 in the first set, from where Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin stormed out to 4-2. They secured a double break of serve to grab the first set.

It was a one-way traffic in the second set as the 13th seeds ran ahead to build a 5-0 advantage before Tiafoe and Fritz could even take a game.

Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin came to this tournament on the back of a semi-final finish at Monte Carlo and a quarter-final appearance in Barcelona, followed by a poor run of form in Madrid and Rome, falling in the first round in each of the last two ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

Bhambri’s singles hopes dashed

In singles, Bhambri was outplayed 4-6, 4-6, 1-6 by the 111th ranked lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans in 2 hours 10 minutes. The Indian had won their only previous meeting and began to show some of that brilliance when he broke the Belgian in the very first game of the match.

However, the World No. 94 was not able to consolidate it and dropped his next two service games, allowing Bemelmans to have an upper hand. Even in the second set, the former junior Australian Open champion opened up a 2-0 lead, but his mounting unforced errors never helped his cause.

He lost his rhythm completely in the third set and stared at 0-5 before managing to win a game. Yuki’s serve was broken 8 times while he secured a break only four times.

The Indian finished with 32 winners and 45 unforced errors. Bemelmans, on the other hand, kept it tidy with 34 winners and 29 unforced errors.

Bhambri will next be seen in action in men’s doubles alongside India’s Divij Sharan.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
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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