Yuki Bhambri: The best bet for 2015 US Open qualifiers
A look at all the Indian singles players in contention at the US Open qualifiers.
Bhambri has had decent results in the recent past
For the first time in a long while, four Indians will vie for spots in the main draw of the US Open through the qualifying route. Yuki Bhambri, Somdev Devvarman, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan start their campaigns from Tuesday, when the first round matches of the qualifying draw are slated to begin.
Currently ranked 144, Yuki Bhambri leads the Indian charge. With a couple of good performances under his belt, Bhambri will be looking to enter the main draw of a Major for the second time in his career.
Post Wimbledon, he was able to string in a couple of decent performances. It started with Bhambri winning the crucial fifth rubber in the tie against New Zealand. He then played the Lexington challenger, reaching the quarterfinals in singles. His last two weeks have been even better.
At the Aptos challenger, he lost his first round singles match against Elias Ymer. In doubles, though, he survived to play the last match of the tournament. In tandem with Matthew Ebden, Bhambri reached the finals before falling to Chris Guccione and Artem Sitak.
Last week, at the $100,000 Vancouver challenger event, Bhambri defeated Alejandro Falla, Marius Copil and Farrukh Dustov before going down to Dudi Sela in the semifinals. In the doubles event, he again reached another final, this time with Michael Venus, whom he partnered to reach the pre quarters at the 2014 Australian Open,
With the confidence from these performances, Bhambri will look to make the best of the draw. He opens against Japan’s Yoshito Nishioka, against whom he lost the Asian Games semifinals. The other seeded player in his draw is Kyle Edmund.
Other Indian players in fray
Following Bhamri closely in the rankings is Somdev Devvarman, ranked 152 in the world. He won the Winnetka challenger following Wimbledon. Apart from that, none of his results are noteworthy. His Davis Cup campaign was also marred by the loss to Michael Venus, pushing India into a decisive fifth rubber. He then managed to qualify for the main draw at the Atlanta 250 event, but has since been winless.
He will also play his first match against a seeded player, Norbert Gombos of Slovakia. The other seeded player in his section is Guido Pella.
World no. 199 Saketh Myneni will play his second major qualifiers this week. After going down in a tough contest in the second round of Wimbledon qualifiers, Myneni will look to make it to the main draw this time around. His post-Wimbledon performances have not been satisfactory. His only wins came at the Lexington challenger, in the doubles event. His first round match is against Jan-Lennard Struff. While Albert Montanes is the other seed in his section, the likes of Elias Ymer and Michal Przysiezny also feature here.
Initially in the alternates list, world no.226 Ramkumar Ramanathan is the lowest ranked Indian in the draw. Though he played the qualifiers at Melbourne and Paris, he missed the cut for Wimbledon. He played the Lexington challenger followed by a pair of futures events in the United States. He managed a couple of wins to keep him in the top 250 of the world rankings. He plays Pedro Sousa of Portugal in the first round. The seeded players in his section are Facundo Bagnis and Alejandro Gonzalez. His chances for qualifying are rather slim.
With four players in the draw, we can expect at least a qualifier or two. While Ramkumar Ramanathan certainly has time, Saketh Myneni will be desperate to take his career forward. Of the four, Yuki Bhambri seems to be the best bet. Yet, Somdev Devvarman cannot be overlooked as some of his best results have come on the hard courts of the USA.