Indian Wells Masters: Yuki Bhambri beats Nicolas Mahut to enter second round
Bhambri is the only Indian in singles at this tournament.
The India No. 1 men’s singles player, Yuki Bhambri put up a brilliant performance to book his berth in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Friday. Bhambri needed 1 hour 41 minutes to prevail over France’s Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 6-3 in a battle of qualifiers.
This is Bhambri’s first main draw win at any ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
The 110th ranked Bhambri did not have a good start to this first round clash with the World No. 101 Mahut. He fell behind 1-4 in the first set before clawing his way back by converting three out of three break points to grab the opener, 7-5.
The second set too began in the same fashion with the former junior Australian Open champion trailing 1-3. Once more he amped up the intensity on break points, making use of three out of eight opportunities to seal the win over the two-time doubles Major winner.
Yuki had 64% of his first serves in, produced three aces against four double faults. He finished with a total of 78 points while Mahut could only bag 62.
Bhambri has had a confidence-boosting start to the season. He qualified for the Australian Open before losing in the final of the Chennai Challenger, where he squandered match points.
At the Indian Wells Masters, he beat his junior compatriot, Ramkumar Ramanathan to bag a main draw berth.
Pouille waits for Bhambri
He will next take on the in-form ninth seeded Lucas Pouille. The Frenchman has been playing some terrific tennis since the start of the 2018 season, winning one title and finishing as the runner-up in two others.
The two are tied 1-1 in their head-to-head meetings with both those clashes stretching to the decider. The Delhi ace won their very first meeting at the Chennai Challenger in 2014 and Pouille avenged that defeat the very same year at the Delhi Challenger.