India’s Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan started their campaign at the Tata Open Maharashtra with contrasting victories in the singles qualifying opening round here on Saturday.
While Bhambri dominated Diego Hidalgo 6-2, 6-2 in a lopsided match, Chennai-based Ramanathan, who entered the draw as a wildcard, registered a sensational come-from-behind 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win against Otto Virtanen.
South Asia’s only ATP 250 event is being conducted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with the state government.
Meanwhile, other three Indians in action - Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sidharth Rawat and Aditya Balsekar - suffered defeats in their respective matches.
While Gunneswaran went down fighting 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-5 against the former word No. 45 Maximilian Marterer, Rawat made Zdenek Kolar work hard before losing the match by 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-1.
Balsekar was defeated by Flavio Cobolli 6-3, 6-0.
In other first-round matches, last year’s semifinalist Elias Ymer made progress after his opponent Miljan Zekic retired. Mattia Bellucci beat Vladyslav Orlov 6-4, 6-4 and Nikola Milojevic also thrashed Nicholas David Ionel 6-3, 6-2.
The second and final round of the qualifiers will be played on Sunday as Bhambri, Ramanathan and others will look to win and secure the main draw spots for themselves.
Bhambri and Ramanathan will take on Ymer and Bellucci, respectively, in the final round.
Earlier in the day, 15-year-old rising India star Manas Dhamne was handed a main draw wildcard in the singles. The Pune-born tennis prodigy Dhamne will be seen competing in the main draw alongside global tennis stars including world number 17 Marin Cilic.
The main draw will take place from January 2 to 7.
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