Chennai: Indian Davis Cup player Yuki Bhambri provided a fillip to his comeback bid by steamrolling local hero Ramkumar Ramanathan while Saketh Myneni fizzled out after early fight to bow out of ATP Chennai Open on Tuesday.
Having lost crucial six months last year due to tennis elbow injury, Yuki made a good impression early in the season as he literally toyed with Ramkumar with a commanding 6-1 6-1 win.
It was the most-talked about match from India's perspective, considering that the country's best singles players were playing but the match never rose to any heights, thanks to Ramkumar's below par performance.
Even as Yuki's real test begins now since he plays better opponents, qualifying for the main draw and then advancing to the second round would boost his game.
Myneni, a wild card like Ramkumar, resisted Russian world number 57 Mikhail Youzhny before coping a 4-6 3-6 defeat.
Yuki also proved that the faith posed in him by the selectors, who picked him in the Davis Cup squad despite low ranking, that if he is fit, he is the country's best singles player.
"I did not take the foot off gas, kept getting the breaks. The scoreline may suggest it's easy but it's difficult to play Ramkumar in Chennai. There are still certain areas where I need to work on like I need to consistently serve and return better, it makes your life easy," Yuki said after the contest.
The Delhi boy said he was match-fit but the kind of match sharpness he expects is still not there.
Talking about his next match against world number 47 Benoit Paire, Yuki said he would like to give himself a chance if he could "stay solid".
Asked if he sort of made a statement that he's the best singles player for India to take on New Zealand in Pune in the Davis Cup, Yuki said he was ready to play any match.
"It's not my job to decide. The captain will take a call on Friday."
Ramkumar credited Yuki for his splendid show on Tuesday.
"Yuki played some smart and aggressive tennis. I struggled with my first serve. It was one of my bad days, I don't want to talk much about it. Yuki played solid, he had the initiative from first game, I had no first serve," Ramkumar said after the match.
"I had chances in the opening game of the second set when the guy hit two double faults but I was too defensive. He played clever. I need to go back and train hard. I know I have disappointed the audience," he said, adding that he will take a few days off.
Earlier in the day, World No 101 Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain pulled off a minor upset by defeating Spain's 70th ranked player Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-3 to keep the opening day trend of lower-ranked players ruling the roost.
Slovenia-born Bedene, who was the last player to gain direct entry into the main draw following the injury-induced withdrawal of Tommy Robredo, exhibited a compact, all-round game to get the better of the lanky Spanish veteran, once ranked World No 23, in one hour 14 minutes.
Argentina's Renzo Olivo and Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu, however, broke the trend by romping to facile victories.
Olivo stormed past the tournament's youngest player Casper Ruud 7-6(3), 6-2 in just over 1 hour and 19 minutes while Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan thumped Radu Albot of Moldova 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour.
Updated Date: Jan 03, 2017 22:44 PM