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Indian tennis round-up: Yuki Bhambri battles hard for first round win at Busan Challenger

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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393   //    15 May 2018, 23:06 IST

BNP Paribas Open - Day 9
Yuki Bhambri

Second seed Yuki Bhambri was two points away from defeat from where the India No. 1 fought back to notch up a first round win at the $150, 000 Busan Challenger in Korea on Tuesday. Bhambri won the match 3-6, 7-6(6), 3-0 when Yoshihito Nishioka retired after losing the first three games in the decider.

The Japanese came to this tournament on the back of winning the Gimcheon Challenger last week. Nishioka, who reached a career-high ranking of 58th in 2017, made his comeback this year from a knee surgery.

The Gimcheon Challenger was his first title since returning to the Tour at the start of the season. He won seven matches in eight days, which probably took a toll on his body as the match with Bhambri went the distance.

Nishioka had looked close to a win when the two were locked at 6-6 in the second set tie-break with the first set having gone the Japanese’s way. But the 94th ranked Yuki held on and eked out the tight second set, which put him on the path to a win.

The Delhi player himself came back from a break after suffering a minor foot problem post his triumph at the Taipei Challenger in April. He will play at the Geneva Open on clay next week before heading to Paris for the French Open, where he has earned himself a direct entry.

Sriram Balaji shines in Samarkand

At the Samarkand Challenger in Uzbekistan, N Sriram Balaji put up a great effort to upset the third seed Tristan Lamasine of France 6-1, 7-5 in the final round of qualifying. At 599th, Balaji is placed more than 200 spots below the 390th ranked Lamasine.

Sixth seeded Sasi Kumar Mukund failed to repeat his heroics from last week’s Karshi Challenger and went down 4-6, 6-7(5) to World No. 636 Manuel Pena Lopez.

At the Heilbronn Challenger in Germany, the unseeded Indo-Austrian combine of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn won the first set 6-3 over fellow unseeded pair of Dustin Brown and Darian King when rain suspended play.

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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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