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Balaji clinches first French Open victory, Bhambri exits early

N Sriram Balaji secured his first French Open win, strengthening his bid for a spot on the Indian men's doubles team for the Paris Olympics.

Balaji clinches first French Open victory, Bhambri exits early

Sriram Balaji in action (File Photo: ATP)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 31 May 2024 4:43 PM GMT

Indian tennis star N Sriram Balaji secured his first win at the French Open, on Friday. Paired with Mexico's Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela Martinez, Balaji triumphed over American Reese Stalder and Dutch player Sem Verbeek with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory.

This win marks significant progress in Balaji's doubles career, bolstering his case to join veteran Rohan Bopanna at the Paris Games.

In contrast, Yuki Bhambri, another hopeful for the Olympic berth, faced a disappointing first-round exit. Bhambri and his French partner, Albano Olivetti, were defeated 3-6, 6-7(5) by the Australian-Russian duo of John Peers and Roman Safiullin. Despite the loss, Bhambri showcased his strong baseline play and a competent serves.

During their match, Bhambri and Olivetti struggled to find their rhythm, often leaving the court open for their opponents to exploit. Bhambri's service game faltered early, allowing Peers and Safiullin to seize control of the first set. Although Bhambri managed to hold serve at crucial moments, he and Olivetti ultimately couldn't withstand the consistent pressure from their rivals.

Bopanna observed Bhambri's match from the stands, assessing the performance of his potential Olympic partner. The veteran player is likely considering various factors, including Bhambri's versatility and recent form, as he prepares to make his final decision.

Looking ahead, Bopanna is set to face Sumit Nagal in the men's doubles first round, where Nagal will be partnering with Austria's Sebastian Ofner. This match promises to be an exciting encounter between two of India's top tennis talents.

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