Big-serving Indian Yuki Bhambri did well to send down eight aces in his first round match against sixth-seeded Robin Haase. However, in keeping with his seeding, the Dutchman ensured a safe passage to the second round of the Aircel Chennai Open with a 7-5 6-3 victory here on Monday.
It looked like wildcard Bhambri went all out in the first set and was by and large close to his rival going purely by statistics. But having spent the bulk of his energy in trying to contain Haase in the first set, it was always going to be tough in the second. And the end result was no big surprise: a brave effort by Bhambri but not good enough.
But it is all not over yet for India in the singles main draw. Somdev Devvarman takes on Czech Jan Hajek in the first round, while Prakash Amritraj also made it to the main draw after a 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory over Brit James Ward in the final round of qualifying. Amritraj clashes with Frenchman Guillaume Rufin in the first round of the main draw. The other three qualifiers who entered the singles main draw along with Amritraj are German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Belgian Reuben Bemelans and American Rajeev Ram.
Meanwhile, the other seeded player to play on the day, eighth-seeded Japanese Go Soeda, had little trouble in disposing off Russian Evgeny Donskoy in 59 minutes. The Japanese, a semifinalist here last year, won 6-1 6-2 and booked a second round berth. He will meet the winner of the Amritraj-Rufin match.
In other first round matches, Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin defeated Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3 6-4 and Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene sent Portugal’s Joao Sousa packing after a 6-3 6-2 win.
In a doubles first round match, India’s Sanam Singh and Vishnu Vardhan lost to Benoit Paire (France) and Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6 7-5 7-10.