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Chennai Open: Yuki wins opening round of qualifiers

December 31, 2016 21:01 IST

Yuki Bhambri

IMAGE: Yuki Bhambri in action.

Yuki Bhambri breezed past Italy's Marco Cecchinato in the opening round of the qualifiers in the Chennai Open on Saturday.

The former top-100 player and a quarterfinalist in 2014 in Chennai Open, Yuki has returned to the circuit after a long injury lay off. But he displayed a lot of aggression as he romped to a 7-5, 6-1 victory in one hour and 10 minutes.

Yuki will next take on Argentina's Nicolas Kicker, who got the better of Sasi Kumar Mukund of India.

Mukund bowed out of the first round of the qualifiers after losing 7-6(7), 3-6, 5-7. He seemed to have gained a measure of his 24-year-old opponent as he fought tooth and nail to win the tie-breaker but suffered an early setback in the next set, getting broken in his second game itself.

Mukund tried to power his way back, riding on his big serve and powerful forehand strokes, but Kicker drew the sting out of his own shots by imparting massive top spin into them.

The third set was a hard-fought affair with the games going with serve till 5-5. Kicker broke through in the critical 11th game and held on to his serve to beat Mukund 7-5.

"It was a close match. The third set was tight and could have gone either way. May be I was a bit passive. He took his chances," Mukund said.

Myneni draws Youzhny, Ramkumar awaits qualifier

Saketh Myneni was handed a tough draw as he has been pitted against experienced seventh seed Mikhail Youzhny in his singles opening round of the ATP Chennai Open even as local boy Ramkumar Ramanathan drew a yet-to-be-decided qualifier.

India's number one player Myneni, ranked 192 in the world, had a good 2016 year as he qualified for the US Open and it would need a herculean effort from him to make a winning start to the new season after being drawn against world number 57 from Russia.

It will not be a smooth road for Ramkumar since he is set to play two seeded players - Benoit Paire (ranked 47) and Aljaz Bedene (101) -- if he gets past the qualifier.

In the doubles, India's top pair of Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan will take on Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil and Croatia’s Nikola Mektic.

The other pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan, however, will run into countryman Leander Paes and his Brazilian partner Andre Sa.

Meanwhile, the top four seeds in the tournament, top seed and world number six Main Celic, twice winner of the title, Spainiards Roberto Agut (ranked 14), Albert Vinolas Roma's, Martin Klizan (Slovakia) have been granted byes.

Agut said it would be tough to get into the groove in first tournament after the off-season.