Chennai Open Tennis: Yuki, Bedene score crushing victories to enter Round 2

The Asian Age.  | Srinivasa N.V

Sports, Tennis

The 27-year-old seemed to have found a weak link in the game of Lopez as he repeatedly targeted his opponent’s backhand.

India’s Yuki Bhambri en route to his 6-1, 6-1 win over compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the Chennai Open men’s singles first round. (Photo: E.K. Sanjay)

Chennai: Aljaz Bedene of Britain stormed to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Spain’s Gullermao Garcia Lopez in the Chennai Open here on Tuesday for an auspicious start to what he hopes will be a lucky season. Later, in a battle of Indians Yuki Bhambri showed no mercy to local man Ramkumar Ramanathan in a 6-1, 6-1 drubbing.

Bedene initially had trouble with his first serve, as back to back double faults gave Lopez three break points in the fourth game but he came back with the two strong aces to stave off the danger.

The 27-year-old seemed to have found a weak link in the game of Lopez as he repeatedly targeted his opponent’s backhand. Although the Spaniard did manage to run around Bedene’s returns to hit forehand winners, it wasn’t enough in the end.

Both players chose to play from the baseline, but Bedene used it to his advantage as he mixed up his shots well. The Briton broke Lopez first in the seventh game with a superb forehand winner and he was at it again in the ninth to seal the set.

Now Bedene was in the mood. He laid down the marker by converting his second break point in Game Four for a 3-1 lead. Lopez, who elicited appreciation from Bedene with a delicate drop in the same game, had no answers to his opponent’s lethal forehand.

Bedene, who had a match total of seven aces, rallied from two break points down in the ninth to book his ticket in the next round.

Bedene, who plays fourth seed Martin Klizan next, said he was a bit nervous before the match. “I hadn’t played for a long time after I took time off at the end of the last season. It wasn’t easy from the beginning but it got easier from 2-2 after I saved a couple of break points,” he added.

A lot was expected from last year’s quarter-finalist Ramkumar, who received a wild card entry this term, but the 22-year-old was outplayed by Bhambri.

The 22-year-old was broken in his first two service games as Bhambri raced to a 3-0 lead. It didn’t take long for the Delhi player to close out the set with Ramkumar showing no staying power.

Even though the fans got behind the local man, the complexion of the match remained the same. Ramkumar appeared to be in a hurry to leave centre court.

Ramkumar said nothing went his way in the match. “I would like to give credit to Yuki; he played smart tennis. I couldn’t bring out my best and I disappointed the local fans,” he added.

Yuki, who will take on Frenchman Benoit Paire in the next round, said he put his foot on the gas from the word go.

“I want to win as many matches I can before I play the Australian Open.  I have played and practised with Ramkumar, so I knew what to do,” he added.