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Indian tennis round-up: Yuki Bhambri advances in qualifying at Queen’s Club, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan loses Nottingham Challenger final

442   //    16 Jun 2018, 23:24 IST

Libema Open 2018
Yuki Bhambri

On a day of contrasting fortunes for India’s top tennis players, Yuki Bhambri advanced to the second round of qualifying at the Fever Tree Championships in London, but doubles ace Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan went down fighting in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

At the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Divij Sharan too lost his first round doubles match in qualifying.

Bhambri, seeded fifth at this premier Wimbledon warm-up event, stormed back from a set down to beat James Ward 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in 1 hour 41 minutes. The India No. 1 will next take on the third seeded Taylor Fritz in a bid to qualify for the main draw of this prestigious ATP 500 tournament, earlier known as the Queen’s Club Championships.

Ward had a terrific serving day, producing 13 aces on the slick green surface. In contrast, Yuki did not have a single ace to show for and even made six double faults.

Ward’s level dropped significantly second set onwards and that is where Bhambri capitalized. He made in-roads into the Briton’s serve four times over the last couple of sets to notch up the three-set victory.

Bhambri began the grass season on a good note, reaching the quarter-finals of the Surbiton Challenger. But he failed to sustain that level at the Libema Open in the Netherlands the following week and crashed out of this ATP 250 tournament in the first round.

Disappointment in doubles

At the Nature Valley Open, an ATP Challenger tournament in Nottingham, fourth seeds Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Austin Krajicek were beaten 6-7(5), 1-6 by the unseeded duo of Frederik Nielsen and Joe Salisbury in the final that lasted 1 hour 12 minutes.

This is the Chennai player’s fourth consecutive loss in a Challenger final this season, following his victory at the Dallas Challenger in February.

The fourth seeds had made a bright start, racing away to a 4-1 lead in the first set, before the momentum shifted to the other side.

At the Gerry Weber Open, an ATP 500 tournament in Halle, Germany, top seeds Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak were shown the door in the first round of qualifying by the all-German pair of Dustin Brown and Andre Begemann. The Indo-Kiwi pair had come to this event after a semi-final finish at the Libema Open a day ago, but they were not able to replicate that form at Halle and slumped to a 3-6, 6-3, 2-10 defeat.

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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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