In the first qualifying match of the ATP 250 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Yuki Bhambri faced off against Pavel Kotov in a tightly contested battle. The match began with both players trading a break of serve until Yuki managed to get the pivotal break at 5-4 when Pavel was serving to stay in the set.
In the second set, Yuki and Pavel traded holds of serve till 3-3 before Pavel managed to break Yuki and then closed out the set 6-3 to force a deciding third set.
The third set was an intense battle with both players holding serve until Yuki managed to get a crucial break to take a 5-4 lead and served for the match. However, Kotov had other plans and managed to break back to level the set at 5-5.
With the match in the balance, both players held serve until Kotov managed to get a crucial break at 6-5 to seal the match 7-5 in the third set. Yuki will be left to rue the missed opportunity as he had a match point when serving for the match.
It was a disappointing result for Yuki, who had shown glimpses of his best tennis, but ultimately could not close out the match.
[Q1] (ALT) Yuki Bhambri (IND,684) l. (7) Pavel Kotov (RUS,126) 63 36 57