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Indian Wells Masters: Yuki Bhambri qualifies for the main draw

Indian Wells Masters: Yuki Bhambri qualifies for the main draw
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By

Anjali Banerjee

Published: 9 March 2018 3:52 AM GMT
The outing at the Indian Wells Masters in the Californian Desert so far looks to be a pleasing one for India's top-ranked singles player Yuki Bhambri. Toppling compatriot and World No. 135 Ramkumar Ramanathan with a score of 6-4 6-2, Bhambri has qualified for the Main Draw of the BNP Paribas Open which is the season's first Masters 1000 event. The World No. 110 Bhambri had made it to the Main draw of the Miami Masters back in 2009. This becomes his second appearance at a Masters event. He also becomes the second Indian after Somdev Devvarman to make it to the Main draw of the Indian Wells Masters. Somdev had made it to the Fourth Round in 2011 in the same tournament. Bhambri, seeded 9th
had beaten Dennis Novikov 7-5, 7-5 in the first qualifying round
. Having to toil for the win, the second round was a relatively easy one. Taking just under 84 minutes, the Junior Australian Open champ bulldozed to the finish line seeing off the Chennai star Ramkumar Ramanathan in straight sets. With a 68% first serve, it was not a convincing performance from the India No. 1. Nonetheless he managed to convert five of six break points. A 42 % of second serve points won which was way better than the 20th seed who registered only a 26%, made the difference for Bhambri. Despite 5 double faults, the 25-year-old prevailed to qualify for the Main draw.
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Ankita Raina - Meet the new poster girl of Indian tennis Bhambri had also made it to the Main draw of the Australian Open earlier this year but faltered in the first round. After a runner up finish at the Chennai Challenger against Jordan Thompson who lifted the title, Yuki went on to clear the first qualifying round at the Dubai Duty Free Championships but stumbled in the next against Yannick Maden and failed to qualify for the ATP 500 event. Meanwhile India's second ranked Ramanathan had made the Main draw of the ATP 250 Delray Beach open last month but succumbed to Donald Young in the Opening round. The Mexican Open in Acapulco thereafter was also a bitter experience as he faced defeat in the first qualifying round at the hands of Kevin King. Bhambri and Ramkumar now share a 3-1 head to head. The Indian duo met first at the Indore Challenger in 2014 in the second round where the latter won 7-6 6-3. They met next in Chennai in 2017 with Yuki edging past Ramkumar in the first round with a 6-1 6-1 score. The third meeting at the Pune Challenger in 2017 again in November saw Bhambri lifting the title.
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Yuki Bhambri: The wait for success continues Bhambri is steadily making a comeback from the past one year after staying on the sidelines for a major part of the year in 2016 given injury. It will be a welcome sight to watch the Indian go deep into the Masters event in California. He will take on the World No. 101 Nicolas Mahut of France in the Opening round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The Chennai Open Challenger runner up finish last month had catapulted Yuki close to the top 100 and it will be time to see if he can scale up the rankings ladder again. A career best ranking of 88 in 2015 should be the light to chase for Bhambri once again.
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