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French Open 2018: Yuki Bhambri knocked out on debut, Rohan Bopanna marches ahead

French Open 2018: Yuki Bhambri knocked out on debut, Rohan Bopanna marches ahead

Anjali Banerjee

Published: 30 May 2018 4:55 AM GMT
A rain struck day at Paris brought mixed fortunes for Indian tennis. World No. 93 Yuki Bhambri was inflicted with a straight sets loss 4-6 4-6 1-6 by Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans in the first round of the Men's singles while Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat the American duo of Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-1 in 63 minutes in the Men's doubles at Roland Garros yesterday. Indian tennis ace, Yuki Bhambri was the only hope for the country in singles as Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Raina all failed to qualify for the Second Grand Slam of the season. The 25-year-old from Delhi had conquered the $150,000 Challenger event in Taipei last month and scaled to a career best ranking of 83 which secured him a berth into the Main draw of the French Open. This was a fourth appearance of the Indian into the Main draw of a Grand Slam. He had made it to the Australian Open main draw in 2015, 2016 and this year 2018 but failed to go beyond the first round. It was Bhambri's maiden appearance at the French Open which also ended in an opening round exit.
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Yuki Bhambri: The wait for success continues Bhambri's opponent, a Left-hander, World No. 110 Ruben Bemelmans who is a better clay courter than the Indian, brought his experience into play to get the better of the Delhi star in straight sets. The Belgian had come through the qualifiers as a "lucky loser" to face the Indian in the opening round. In the entire duration of the match, Bhambri managed to break the Belgian's serve 4 times out of the 8 chances at his disposal but his escalating unforced errors of a whopping 45 as against only 29 from Bemelmans was a wicked trap that strangled Bhambri in the end. Ruben rained down 4 aces as opposed to a struggling Bhambri who was not great on serves registering a meagre 49% and 38% winning percentage on first and second serves respectively. The Belgian finished the match with 117 total points while Bhambri was bundled out with 91 of the total points. In their previous meeting, Yuki had defeated Bemelmans at the ATP Delhi Open semifinals in 2015 but failed to replicate his performance at the French Open. The major reason for this loss can be also blamed on the fact that Bhambri had not played a single match on clay this season heading into Roland Garros. While he has scripted some great wins on the Hard courts, the red dirt in Paris somehow left him struggling. Clay is a demanding surface and requires extreme fitness. Bhambri who generally does not prefer clay has often faltered on the surface. The Junior Australian open had a brilliant American hard court swing making it to the third round at Indian Wells and a second round in Miami taking out some top players on the way.
Bhambri is still scheduled to play in the doubles with Divij Sharan and will face the duo of Purav Raja and Martin Fabrice in the first round in Paris today.
While Raja and Fabrice are 3-6 on clay this season, Bhambri and Sharan have not played on the surface this this year as yet. In the Men's Doubles, 13th seeds Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger- Vasselin had a comfortable transition into the next round. They ousted the unseeded duo of Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz in just 63 minutes to script a score of 6-3 6-1. The Indo-French pair albeit have not had an otherwise great season so far with the only best result being a semi-final finish in Monte Carlo Masters.
Bopanna, had won his maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros last year in mixed doubles with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski
. Bopanna also features in the Mixed Doubles at Roland Garros this year alongside his Hungarian partner Timea Babos in which they are seeded 7th. The pair also had a commendable Runner-up finish in Melbourne at the Australian Open this season where they lost to Dabrowski and Mate Pavic in the finals. The Mixed doubles first match for Bopanna and Babos is scheduled tomorrow where they will face off with the pair of Zhang Shuai of China and Australian John Peers.
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