Pune: Yuki Bhambri began his campaign brightly but Sumit Nagal’s unbeaten streak of seven matches was halted by fellow qualifier Ilya Ivashka at the Tata Open Maharashtra tennis tournament, here on Tuesday.
Bhambri, the country’s top-ranked singles players, defeated wildcard local boy Arjun Kadhe 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
He will now fight it out with eighth seed Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who battled past Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (4), 6-7(2), 6-2 in a gruelling season-opener.
Nagal, ranked 223rd, came into the match after winning the Bengaluru Open and two qualifying matches here for his maiden ATP World Tour event but suffered a 3-6, 3-6 defeat in the opening round against the Belarusian, placed seven places below him.
It was the second meeting between 20-year-old Nagal and Ivashka with the Indian losing the first match at the same venue at the 2015 Challenger event.
In other singles matches of the day, fifth seed Ribin Haase overcame Blaz Kavcic 7-6 (6), 7-5 while Laslo Djere bounced back to beat Marius Copil 5-7, 6-4, 7 -5.
Ramkumar sets up Cilic clash
Making a stupendous start to the fresh season, Ramkumar Ramanathan scalped higher-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena to set up a second round clash with tournament-favourite Marin Cilic on Monday night. Coming into the season-opening ATP 250 tournament with some memorable wins in 2017, the 148th-ranked Ramkumar prevailed 7-6(4), 6-2 over Carballes Baena, placed 42 places above him.
“I have a lot of respect for him, I am going to give my best. I want to present a good fight before the home crowd. Whatever happens, happens. What you can expect from me is good fight from first point to last,” said Ramkumar.
“I felt comfortable coming onto the net. I did whatever I could. There is still a long way to go. Last year I was doing lot of serve and volley, the courts here are fast so why not. I am going to stick to it. Whatever works on a day,” he said when asked about his latest strategy to adopt serve and volley.