The India No. 1 Yuki Bhambri caused a big upset by stunning the ninth seed and World No. 12 Lucas Pouille to enter the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Sunday. Bhambri needed just 1 hour 19 minutes to see off the Frenchman in a 6-4, 6-4 win.
This is the biggest win of the currently 110th ranked Bhambri’s career. This is also the farthest he has ever reached in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
Pouille has had a terrific start to the 2018 season, reaching three finals in four weeks. Out of those, he claimed the title at Montpellier and finished as the runner-up at Marseille and Dubai.
But Yuki was not perturbed by that record. He already had a career win over the Frenchman in the first of their previous two meetings in 2014. And he brought that confidence into this match.
The former junior Australian Open champion had decent statistics on serve, winning 75% of his first serves. He converted four break points out of the seven he got.
The Delhi lad finished with a total of 69 points from 125 while his higher-ranked opponent could only bag 56.
Bhambri, whose highest rank was 88th in 2015, has a shot at making a return to the top 100 if he manages to overcome the challenge of the 18th seed and World No. 21 Sam Querrey in the next round.
Having had his career blighted an elbow injury in 2016, the 25-year-old has been climbing his way back to the top echelons of the sport for the past one year. He began the season on a good note by qualifying for the Australian Open and then followed it up with a run to the final at the Chennai Challenger.
At the ongoing Indian Wells Masters, he won two rounds in qualifying with one of his victories coming over the India No. 2 Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Bhambri is the only Indian remaining
Bhambri is the last Indian standing at Indian Wells. Earlier on Saturday, the men’s doubles pair of Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin crashed out in the first round.
The Indo-French combine squandered a one-set lead to go down 7-5, 2-6, 4-10 to the unseeded big-serving duo of Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey.