Calcutta: For someone capable of unleashing winners no matter the situation of the game, overcoming a qualifier should be the least difficult of all tasks.
Yuki Bhambri got most things correct, but was being let down by his inconsistency, with qualifier Liang-Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei starting to dream of a berth in the pre-quarter finals. Nevertheless, he was quick to pull himself up and registered a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win in Tuesday’s Round I tie of the State Bank of India ATP Challenger, here, at the Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) courts.
It’s not that Yuki was scrappy from the outset. But he simply allowed his opponent to prevail during crucial points, committing too many unforced errors. Breaking Yuki’s serve in the seventh game of the first set, Huang had no problems in winning it 6-4.
In the second, Yuki started with a bang, taking a 3-0 lead. But again, double faults and gross mistakes brought Huang back in the match, as the scoreline read 3-3.
Huang’s game plan was simple — keep the rallies long and force Yuki into erring. The plan worked for quite some time before Yuki finally regained his rhythm. Earning a crucial break in the eighth game with a precise volley, he ensured to hold his serve and win the second set 6-3.
Thereafter, the 21-year-old was all over his opponent, waltzing his way to a 5-0 lead in the third and deciding set. Victory looked guaranteed as Yuki served for the match. Yet again, he double-faulted — his sixth of the match — to gift one game to Huang, who saved two match points.
Fortunately for Yuki, Huang lost his serve for the fourth time in the set that closed the deal after two hours and 10 minutes. Yuki’s fortune did not favour him in doubles, though, as he and Michael Venus of New Zealand lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-10 to Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan and Slovakia’s Blaz Rola.
On Wednesday, Yuki faces third seed Russian Evgeny Donskoy, who whipped Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni 6-4, 6-2. Yuki could be under serious trouble if he repeats the mistakes against Evgeny. The Russian isn’t one to let go opportunities, especially if his opponent offers them on a platter.
Earlier, in the opening match of the day, qualifier Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei defeated National Grasscourt champion Vishnu Vardhan. Chen won 6-3, 6-2. Vishnu, who has just recovered from injuries, struggled right from the beginning, while Chen made the most of it.
Meanwhile, top seed Nedovyesov had little problems against Portuguese Rui Machado, winning 6-2, 6-4.