Australian Open 2018 | Yuki Bhambri and Venus Williams bows out in opening round

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Australian Open 2018 | Yuki Bhambri and Venus Williams bows out in opening round

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SportsCafe Desk

01/15/2018

India’s solitary singles representative at the Australian Open Yuki Bhambri didn’t manage to make it past the first-round of the tournament as he lost to Marcos Baghdatis on Monday. Last year’s runners-up Venus Williams also lost to Belinda Bencic summing up a bad day for the American contingent.

25-year-old Yuki Bhambri clawed his way back in the match against Canadian youngster Peter Polansky, and after an hour and 55 minutes, he registered a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win to become the only Indian singles player at the tournament to qualify for the main draw. The  Indian qualifier, ranked 122, had his chances against world number 103, Marcos Baghdatis, but unforced errors cost him the match 6-7(4) 4-6 3-6 after two hours and nine minutes on court number eight.  Bhambri is yet to win a round in the main draw of a Grand Slam and the Australian Open is the only Major he has played in.

In other news, Former US Champion Marin Cilic faced Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil in the opening round of the tournament. Pospisil made things interesting in a tense fourth set tiebreaker before Cilic finally prevailed 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) on Day 1 of the Australian Open.

Grigor Dimitrov gave qualifier Dennis Novak a lesson in Grand Slam tennis to reach the second round of the Australian Open at a canter with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory on Monday. The Bulgarian third seed is considered as one of the favourites to win this tournament coming off a huge win in the latter stages of 2017 at the ATP tour finals.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund ranked 49 in world rankings shocked South African Kevin Anderson, with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in almost four hours. 

Amongst the women’s category, the elder of the Williams’ sister, Venus, fell to a shock defeat against Federer’s team-mate from the Davis Cup and Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic. The 20-year-old Bencic came into the tournament in great form and knocked out last year’s runner-up Venus Williams 6-3, 7-5. Bencic had support from the whole Federer family here, with the defending champion offering his advice before the match and congratulating her afterwards as well.

“I really admire that before the match in the locker room he’s so relaxed, being funny with his team, or even with everyone. Then on the court, he’s so focused," said Bencic.

"I think that’s the main thing I want to learn from him. Even off the court, a normal, humble person, really happy and trying to give advice and help someone like me. I think that makes him pretty special.”

The defeat summed up a bad day for the US contingent, as Williams’ compatriot Sloan Stephens lost 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to Zhang Shuai while John Isner lost to Matthew Ebden in the first round.

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