Bhambri goes down fighting
Robin Haas, the sixth-seeded Dutchman, faced unexpected resistance from Indian wildcard Yuki Bhambri before winning 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the $430,000 ATP Chennai Open.
“The first match of the season is always tough because you have to adjust to the court and the weather, besides trying to hit the ball well,” the 56th-ranked Haas said. “It was really hot out there and not easy for me. I sweated a lot. But it was good to win my first match. Still I must improve my game if I am to go far in the tournament.”
Haas’ second round opponent will be Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Go Soeda of Japan breezed through the first round of the ATP Chennai Open with an easy win over Evgeny Donskoy of Russia yesterday. Soeda, the eighth seed and Japan’s No.2 player after Kei Nishikori, brushed aside the 21-year-old Russian 6-1, 6-2 in an hour on the centre court of the Nungambakkam Tennis Centre.
“This is a lucky tournament for me,” said the world number 60, who reached the semi-finals in Chennai last January after entering the main draw as a lucky loser from the qualifying round. “I really worked hard on my game during the off-season, but the emphasis was on building my body. The idea was to toughen up for the whole year. “And my improved fitness paid off today because I felt very good on court. I served well and returned solidly,” he said.
Soeda, who could meet Serbian second seed Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals, will play either Guillaume Rufin of France or Prakash Amritraj of India in the second round.
In the last match of the night, Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France outwitted 21-year-old Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4. The top four seeds — Tomas Berdych, Tipsarevic, Marin Cilic and Stanislas Wawrinka — were given byes in the first round.