India’s best hope, Yuki Bhambri, couldn’t continue his good work from last night, bowing out to the 8th seed from France, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, in three tight sets. Yuki had ample opportunities to turn the 3rd set in his favour, opening up 0-40 opportunities on the first two service games of Herbert. But he was unable to convert either of them, as he saw his own serve getting broken immediately in the very next game.
The Balewadi Stadium was rather empty today, owing to the Maharashtra Bandh in place. But whatever few people were present made sure that the Delhi lad got compensated for all the support that he didn’t get last night, while playing local lad Arjun Kadhe. But it did not prove to be enough in the end.
Yuki won the toss and chose to receive. The decision paid dividends right away for him, as he hit some nice & crisp returns on Herbert’s serves, putting balls in uncomfortable positions for the “net-approaching” Herbert. Once he got an early break, Yuki started to give Herbert a taste of his own medicine, as he served accurately and approached the net at every opportunity. Yuki used the fast-ish conditions very well to rush Herbert on his strokes, enticing errors from him and setting up points for himself to finish at the net. The set went on serve thereafter, as Yuki put a 6-4 scoreline in his bag.
The start of the second set saw a rather shabby period of lack in intensity from Yuki. He seemed to have lost his focus a bit, as he made an array of unforced errors to hand Herbert an early 3-0 lead. He tried to get the break back at 3-1, with an increase in an intensity giving him a look at 15-30 on Herbert’s serve, but some big serving and smart play by the Frenchman enabled him to work his way out of trouble to a 4-1 lead. An exact similar situation happened in Herbert’s next service game too, but Herbert launched a barrage of aces to sneak the 2nd set 6-3.
Yuki tried to mount multiple comebacks after being a break down in the third set, but Herbert’s big serve proved to be the vital difference time and again. One could argue that Yuki was the much better player from the back of the court, in addition to being the better receiver of serve as well. But the bite that Herbert managed to generate on his serve proved to be a just tad too much in the end.
ATP 250 TATA OPEN MAHARASHTRA
(R2) Yuki Bhambri(IND,116) lost to Pierre Hugues Herbert(FRA,81) 6-4 3-6 4-6