ATP Pune: Yuki Bhambri wins first match since Miami 2018! Albot and Halys advance
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3170
Former Australian Open junior champion and world no. 1 Yuki Bhambri had finished the 2018 season in Antwerp as the top-100 player. The Indian claimed his last ATP win at the Miami Masters in March that year and started to struggle after that, playing no matches in 2019 and 2020!
Bhambri made a slow start in 2021, but his real return occurred this week and the ATP 250 event in Pune. Entering the main draw with protected ranking, the 29-year-old prevailed over Jozef Kovalik 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 in three hours and six minutes for his first ATP win in almost four years!
Yuki claimed eight points more than Jozef, losing a tight opener after a thriller and staying calm to bring the victory home with a late break in the decider. Bhambri defended 16 out of 18 break points and earned five return games to emerge at the top and advance into the second round.
The opening set lasted almost 80 minutes following an extended tie break that saw 22 points! Kovalik built a 4-2 lead, and Bhambri pulled the break back in game seven to remain in touch. The Indian wasted three set points in the tie break, and the Slovak seized the third at 11-10 to forge the advantage.
Yuku defended four break points at the beginning of the second set and claimed four straight games at 2-2 to clinch it 6-2 and gain a boost ahead of the decider.
Yuki Bhambri scored the first ATP victory since March 2018.
The rivals stayed neck and neck after breaking each other in games five and six, and Bhambri remained on the positive side after fending off break chances in games seven and nine.
The Indian broke his opponent at 6-5 to seal the deal and celebrate his first ATP victory in almost four years! The 5th seed Daniel Altmaier defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6, 6-2, saving a set point in the opener's tenth game and taking it in the tie break for a massive boost.
The German broke twice in the second set to sail over the top and move into the last 16. Quentin Halys dropped only three games against the 7th seed Ricardas Berankis, losing nine points behind the initial shot and delivering four breaks from eight opportunities to race over the finish line.