Just on the first day when spectator tickets were voided due to the increasing incidences of Covid-19 in Cologne, Divij Sharan had his first match at the bett1HULK Indoors in Cologne’s LANXESSarena. Divij’s 1st round match with Jackson Withrow (USA) was a tough draw, though – the team had to face second-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Jackson Withrow was the first to serve in the match. He had to go over 40-40, but then made it. Already from the very beginning, the French favorites just played more solid, had the harder and flatter shots. The return was the key shot – what Divij Sharan had to explore at his first service game, when a couple of tough return shots lead to the first break of the game. Pierre-Huges Herbert faced a 0:40 at own serve, 4-2 in the lead, but only at 30:40, when Sharan managed to give a solid return, there was a slight chance for the Indian-US combo to come back to the set. Sharan had minor struggle to win his serve thereafter, but overall Mahut had a too easy one to serve the 5-3. Finally, Withrow got broken for a 6-3 first set by the French.
Herbert had likely most trouble overall in the first game of the second set, but the French were just too routined to fail in the pressure. The second set felt much more leveled than the first one, the following games were all comparably straight. Again, Herbert struggled slightly with a 0:30 at own service in the fifth game, but it felt finally too easy to win that one for the second-seeded. In the eighth game, Sharan faced triple break point (or even quadruple, if you include the no-ad rule) and the French made it in the second attack. 6-3 6-3 finally, a well deserved victory for Herbert/Mahut, who feel to be in a very strong form in Cologne.
This posting has also been published on Flyctory.com. Check out https://flyctory.com/2020/10/15/bett1hulks-indoors-sharan-ind-withrow-usa-vs-herbert-mahut-fra/ for the coverage with 235 major size pictures in the gallery