Yuki advances; Vishnu flatters to deceive (Lead)January 2nd, 2012 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Jan 2 (IANS) Vishnu Vardhan raised visions of another massive upset win following Yuki Bhambri’s 6-2, 6-3 rout of higher ranked Karol Beck, but blew five match-points and lost to fifth seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (8), 1-6, in the first round of the Aircel Chennai Open here on Monday.
With Somdev Devvarman, the highest ranked Indian on the ATP World Tour pulling out owing to a “recurring shoulder injury”, the onus will be on 19-year old Bhambri to carry the Indian hopes as the only home player left in the singles main draw.
While Bhambri lifted his game a couple of notches to beat Slovak Beck in 79 minutes, Vardhan had nothing left in the tank once Dodig, ranked as high as No.36 dug deep after dropping the first set to win a close second set tie-break and then blast his opponent in the third in a two-hour-35-minute match.
If Bhambri played smart tennis and kept his nerves at the finish, Vardhan made for a study in contrast as he wasted five match-points and seemed to suffer from cramps in the third, but that was hardly congnisable since the difference in level of play between him and Dodig was fairly apparent.
Bhambri, the lowest ranked player in the singles draw at 345, lifted his game against a player who seemed a step slower, but did well to suffer bouts of nerves towards the end of both sets when serving 5-1.
Three breaks of serve in the first and two in the second set up the match for Bhambri who showed far more variety in his strokes, especially the sliced shots that he said was though not his strength, proved effective against Beck, ranked 101.
“I was a bit nervous towards the end of both sets, but I had sufficient lead by then and may be, I should have closed the match much earlier,” said Bhambri who dropped serve in the seventh game of both sets while leading 5-1.
Bhambri admitted that being the lowest ranked player in the main draw, he was not under any pressure and that he was able to bring into play a few variations that he had been working on, especially the sliced stroke.
“I was not under any pressure being the lowest-ranked player. Also, I put the slice, which I have been working on to bring some variation in my strokes, to good use,” said Bhambri for whom it was only his second win on the pro tour following his first round success in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2010.
The young Indian also expressed confidence that he would have lasted a third set. “I would have backed myself had it gone to the third set. But I am glad that I got the job done though I spent a few extra minutes on the court,” said Bhambri who next faces top seed Janko Tipsarevic.
Later, Vardhan, a wild card entry like Bhambri, was a man inspired against Dodig, taking the first set with a break in the 10th game. In the second, the Indian, ranked 312, sustained the momentum for a 5-4 lead, but Dodig threw caution to the winds and blasted winners to tie at 5-5 and eventually the tie-break.
Vardhan had his nose in front in the tie-break, but fumbled when on match-points while Dodig held nothing back with screaming winners and finding the corners with precision to pick up some good points.
In the third, it was Dodig all the way even as Vardhan seemed to cramp after trading early service breaks. The Croatian seized the opportunity to romp home.
Singles - Main Draw (1st round): WC-Yuki Bhambri bt Karol Beck (SVK) 6-2, 6-3; Dudi Sela (ISR) bt 6-Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-0, 6-1; Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Pere Riba (ESP) 6-2, 6-1; 5-Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt WC-Vishnu Vardhan (IND) 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-1.
Qualifying (winners enter main draw): Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt 6-Rik de Voest (RSA) 7-6 (0), 6-1; 4-Vasek Pospisil (CAN) bt 8-Rajeev Ram (USA) 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3; Thiemo de Bakker (NED) bt 3-Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 6-2, 6-4; 5-Go Saeda (JPN) bt 2-Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (5).
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Tags: aircel, atp world tour, bouts, cramps, dodig, karol beck, match points, nerves, notches, onus, ranked player, rout, shoulder injury, smart tennis, somdev devvarman, strokes, tie break, vishnu vardhan, visions, yuki bhambri