Yuki, Ramkumar into second qualifying round
PUNE: India players Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan kick-started their campaign at the Tata Open Maharashtra with contrasting victories in the singles qualifying opening round at the Balewadi Stadium here on Saturday.
While Yuki thrashed Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador 6-2, 6-2 in a lop-sided match, the Chennai-based Ramkumar, who entered the draw as a wildcard, registered a come-from-behind 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Otto Virtanen from Finland.
Meanwhile, the other Indians in action – Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sidharth Rawat and Aditya Balsekar – suffered defeats in their respective first round matches. While Prajnesh went down fighting 6-7(6), 6-3, 5-7 to Maximilian Marterer of Germany, Sidharth made Czech Republic’s Zdenek Kolar work hard before losing 1-6, 7-6(6), 1-6. Aditya was defeated 3-6, 0-6 by Flavio Cobolli of Italy.
In other matches, last year’s semi-finalist Elias Ymer of Sweden progressed after his opponent Miljan Zekic from Serbia retired when trailing 0-3 in the first set. The second and final round of the qualifiers will be played here on Sunday.
Teenager Manas gets main draw wildcard
Local hope Manas Dhamne, who recently turned 15, was on Saturday handed a wildcard in the singles main draw of the ATP 250 event. He will face the World No.113 Michael Mmoh of the United States in the opening round match on Monday.
The Pune-born teenager is the current Asian Junior champion and is one of the youngest to clinch that title. “Manas has been making rapid strides. He has the potential to be the next Indian star,” said Sunder Iyer, joint secretary of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and secretary of the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
Top seed Marin Cilic will kick-start his campaign in the second round along with Emil Ruusuvuori, Botic van de Zandschulp and Sebastian Baez, all of whom have received byes in the opening round.