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Australian Open 2018: Qualifier Yuki Bhambri stumbles in the Round 1 for a third time

Australian Open 2018: Qualifier Yuki Bhambri stumbles in the Round 1 for a third time

Anjali Banerjee

Published: 15 Jan 2018 5:56 AM GMT
In Two hours and nine minutes, Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri succumbs to the very experienced and crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets. India's top-ranked Yuki Bhambri who had stormed into the Main draw with impressive victories at the Qualifiyng three stages failed to make a statement in the opening round of the Australian Open going down 6-7 4-6 3-6 to the World no 103 Marcos Baghdatis. In the year 2015 when Bhambri qualified for the Main draw, Andy Murray thwarted the Indian's journey in the first stage itself. In 2016 after breaking into the top 100 when the Junior Australian Champ did make the main draw again, he failed the test of Tomas Berdych in the first round yet again. The 25-year-old, World no 122, had a golden chance at his disposal for the third time. But subdued in a deluge of unforced errors and the big serving opponent raining down aces, the Indian despite beginning well could not get through. Much to the intrigue of everyone Bhambri took a few seconds off before making it to the court but despite the delay, he took the proceedings by storm with a quick early break in the first set. Having dropped the serve in the fourth game, it was almost slipping out from the hands of the Indian. Bhambri however broke Baghdatis again in the ninth game. A stunning forehand winner did earn him three break-points but he was unable to convert and lost serve.
The tie-breaker for the first set was dominated by Bhambri at 1-3 when he had all the chances of going the distance. But yet again the unforced errors from his forehand cost him dearly and the Cypriot raced away with the opening set. In the second set, Baghdatis got the break at 4-4 and very easily cruised to bag the second as well. Bhambri dumping into the net as many as four times actually proved fatal for the Indian. Recovering from a two-set deficit needed only a Houdini act for Bhambri if at all he had to break free from the strangle. However Baghdatis made sure he did allow a single chance for Bhambri to capitalise and grabbed the lead in the third set. The Indian netted a backhand and could barely recover from there. The Cypriot was all over the court and finished the match with a straight sets win over Bhambri. The 54 unforced errors from Bhambri proved the criminal that lead to this heartbreaking loss for our ace tennis star. Baghdatis hammering down a total of 12 Aces and winning a total of 103 points as compared to 87 for the Indian tells a story of its own. The Cypriot who had major crowd support on court 8 was riding the adulation with the "Go-go Baghdatis" chants and he indeed did not dissapoint his fans. Thus Yuki Bhamri's loss ends the Indian contention in the Men's singles at the Australian Open 2018. We now will have to bank upon our doubles teams as they will shoulder the responsibility of bringing glory to our Nation. India's second -ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan had made it to the final qualifying round with a gritty display of tennis but failed to make it to the main draw losing a very close battle.
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