Yuki storms into next round in ACO qualifiers, Mukund crashes out




Chennai, Dec. 31: India’s Yuki Bhambri and Prajnesh Gunneswaran breezed into the second round of the qualifiers for the Aircel Chennai Open here on Saturday, winning their opening matches in style.

Yuki, who is returning from injury, displayed his aggressive mien as he romped to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Italy’s Marco Cecchinato in one hour and 10 minutes.

Yuki Bhambri on day 1 of the qualifiers in the 22nd Aircel Chennai Open

Yuki Bhambri on day 1 of the qualifiers in the 22nd Aircel Chennai Open

He fired in two aces but was riddled with four double-faults as well. He covered the court smartly and went for the kill at every opportunity.

Prajnesh was equally dominant as he beat Japan’s Hiroko Moriya 6-2, 6-3 in one hours 12 minutes.

Sasi Kumar Mukund, however, crashed out of the first round itself, losing to Nicolas Kicker of Argentina 7-6, 3-6, 5-7. He seemed to have gained a measure of his 24-year-old opponent as he fought tooth and nail to win the tie-breaker.

But he suffered an early setback in the next set, getting broken in his second game itself. He tried to power his way back, riding on his big serve and powerful forehand strokes, but Kicker drew the sting out of his own shots by imparting massive top spin into them.

The third set was a hard-fought affair with the games going with serve till 5-5. Kicker broke through in the critical 11th game and held on to his serve to beat Mukund 7-5.

“It was a close match. The third set was tight and could have gone either way,” Mukund said. “Maybe I was a bit passive. He took his chances,” he added.

Bhambri takes on Kicker in the next round.

Other results:

Hyeon Chung (Chn) beat Milzan Zekic (Srb) 6-1, 6-3; Jozef Kovalik (Svk) beat Franko Skugor (Cro) 6-3, 6-4; Nikola Mektic (Cro) beat Federico Gaio (Ita) 6-3, 6-0; Jurgen Melzer (Aut) beat Steven Diez (Can) 6-1, 6-1; Marco Trungeletti (Arg) beat Alessandro Bega (Ita) 6-0, 6-4

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