Indian players Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan kickstarted their campaign at the fifth edition of ATP 250 Tata Open Maharashtra with contrasting victories in the singles qualifying opening round at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
While Bhambri dominated Diego Hidalgo by 6-2, 6-2 in a win, Chennai-based Ramanathan, who entered the draw as a wildcard, registered a sensational come-from-behind 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory against Otto Virtanen.
Meanwhile, the other three Indians in action, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sidharth Rawat and Aditya Balsekar suffered defeats in their respective matches. While Prajneshwent down fighting 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-5 against the former world No 45 Maximilian Marterer, Rawat made Zdenek Kolar work hard before losing the match by 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-1. Balsekar was defeated by Flavio Cobolli 6-3, 6-0.
In other first-round matches, last year’s semifinallist Elias Ymer made progress after his opponent Miljan Zekic retired. Mattia Bellucci beat Vladyslav Orlov 6-4, 6-4 and Nikola Milojevic also thrashed Nicholas David Ionel by 6-3, 6-2 in a similar fashion.
Second and final round of the qualifiers will be played on Sunday as Bhambri, Ramanathan and others will look to win and secure the main draw spots for themselves.
Bhambri and Ramanathan will take on Ymer and Bellucci respectively in the final round.
Earlier in the day, the 15-year-old rising India star Manas Dhamne was handed a main draw wildcard in the singles as the draws were announced. The Pune-born tennis prodigy Dhamne will be seen competing in the main draw alongside the global tennis stars including world No 17 Marin Cilic.
The main draw will take place from January 2 to 7.