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Tata Open Maharashtra: India’s Yuki Bhambri begins campaign with come-from-behind win over Jozef Kovalik

Pune: India’s Yuki Bhambri registered a sensational come-from-behind win over Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia in the men’s singles opening round of the Tata Open Maharashtra tennis tournament in Pune on Monday.

The 29-year-old Indian, who started directly in the main draw in South Asia’s only ATP 250 meet, secured a 6-7 (10), 6-2, 7-5 win in his opener.

After losing the hard-fought first set, the former junior world number one, who made a comeback in the international circuit recently after a two-year break due to an injury, started the second with 2-0 lead and looked in good touch.

He didn’t let the momentum shift before bagging the set easily and levelling the scores.

In the decider, the Delhi-born player converted a break point to take the scores at 3-3 and then added one more set point to keep himself ahead in the game.

Though the 29-year-old Slovakian tried his best to make a comeback into the contest, Bhambri held his nerves and clinched the decider to advance into the second round.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran is the other Indian who will be in action in the singles main draw later on Monday. He will take on fifth-seed German Daniel Altmaier.

Earlier, France’s Quentin Halys sent world No 82 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania packing with a stunning 6-1, 6-2 win.

World No 141 Halys looked quite confident against the higher-ranked opponent as he hardly gave any opportunity to Berankis.

In the other Round of 32 match, former world No 39 Moldovan Radu Albot faced a tough challenge from Federico Gaio of Italy in the second set but managed to sail through with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory.

Meanwhile, the top-seeded Australian pair of Like Saville and John-Patrick Smith lived up to the expectations as they defeated Stefano Travaglia and Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets.

In the other doubles opening round match, the French duo of Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul outclassed the third-seeded pair of Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to move to the quarter-finals.

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