In what has been among the best weeks of his career, Yuki Bhambri’s strong run at the BNP Paribas Open came to an end in the third round. The Indian qualifier put up a gritty fight in a close clash, but went down in a tough three-setter to 18th seed Sam Querrey on Wednesday morning.
The world no 110, who has stunned world No 12 Lucas Pouille in the second round, lost 7-6(4), 4-6, 4-6 in a match lasting 2 hours and 22 minutes. It was a close fight, with only a 10-point difference between the two in the end; Querrey won 111 to Bhambri’s 101, a difference of 52% to 48%.
Days after the biggest win of his career over the world No 12, Bhambri started on a strong taking the first set over the much higher-ranked player in a tiebreaker. He took the early advantage leading 4-2 before Querrey made it 5-5 in the first set and was then broken while serving to close it out. But he nosed ahead in the tiebreak.
The second set followed a different pattern as a tiring Bhambri could not sustain the momentum and intensity as the world No 21 powered on. Querrey, who was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon and reached the US Open quarters, was a little better at the clutch moments, giving away only three break points. Two of these were converted by Bhambri, but the more telling stat was that he faced a break of serve 15 times, saving 11 of those breakpoints.
The American was also heavy on serve, thundering own 17 aces to win 83% of first serve points. The 25-year-old won 59% of his service points to his opponent’s 67, but only 33 % of return points to Querrey’s 41.
Despite the loss, the Indian’s first Masters 1000 win and a top-10 upset will give him a huge boost for the rest of the season, along with a prize money of $47K and 61 points in the ATP rankings table.