Surbiton Challenger 2018: Yuki Bhambri goes down fighting in quarter-finals, Indian challenge ends
India No. 1 tennis ace Yuki Bhambri went down fighting in the quarter-finals of the Fuzion 100 Surbiton Challenger in London on Friday, bringing an end to India’s campaign at this Wimbledon warm-up grasscourt tournament. The third seed was upset 3-6, 5-7 by the sixth seeded Alex de Minaur, a 19-year-old rising star from Australia.
The youngster, ranked 105th in the current world rankings, had pretty good statistics on serve, producing seven aces and winning 70% of his total service points. In contrast, the 93rd ranked Yuki could win only 54% of his total service points.
The Aussie was much better than his experienced opponent in break point conversion rate as well, making use of four out of his six opportunities. Bhambri, on the other hand, could convert only two of his five break points.
The Sydney-born de Minaur had been on the rise since the start of the 2018 season, establishing himself as one of the most impressive young talents to watch. He began the year, reaching the semi-finals at the Brisbane International and then followed it up with a run to the final at Sydney the next week.
In April, he was also a runner-up at the Ferrero Challenger Open in Alicante, Spain, that sent his ranking up further.
Bhambri was the last Indian standing at this event after the exit of Ramkumar Ramanathan a day earlier in the second round. Having toppled the second seeded Jordan Thompson in the first round, the India No. 2 was beaten 4-6, 6-7(4) by Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky.
In doubles too, none of the Indians managed to cross the quarter-finals hurdle.
Bhambri came to this tournament to get some practice on the grass following his first round exit at the French Open. The 25-year-old will get a direct entry into the main draw of the Wimbledon Championships this time, by dint of his ranking.
His next tournament is next week’s Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, an ATP 250 event held in Den Bosch, Netherlands.