Pune: India's hopes in the Singles competition of the Tata Open Maharashtra took another blow today as their most promising player Yuki Bhambri lost to France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 in the second round here at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium.
In what was the toughest test for Bhambri so far in the tournament, the world no. 118 failed to capitalize on his start where he won the first set 6-4 against one of the best players at this year's tournament in Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Bhambri looked confident from the start but after winning the first set comfortably, the 25-year-old Indian seemed to have lost his touch as Herbert fought back into the match.
With a total of 13 aces in the match, Herbert did well in making the most of his serving, but it was Bhambri who had the momentum going into the second set as the crowd was also cheering him on. Only 20% of Bhambri's total points in the second set came off the returns and it looked like he had lost his rhythm as well. However, credit went to the eighth-seed Herbert who produced some great serves to fight back and win the second and the third sets and make his way through to the quarterfinals.
The win for world no. 81 Herbert means that the Frenchman might end up facing top-seed Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals but the former will be hoping that India's Ramkumar Ramanathan can produce an upset in his second round clash against Cilic, which would make it an easier quarterfinals tie for Herbert.
In the other Men's Singles second round matches that took place today, it was fourth-seed Benoit Paire who defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 in a very close encounter which lasted more than three hours, to make it through to the quarterfinals. World no. 41 Paire had earlier been given a bye in the first round but a long match against Fucsovics means that he was tested to the core. Fifth-seed Robin Haase also had to graft in his second round encounter against Nicolas Jarry after the former had won the first set 6-3. World no. 42 Haase revived his game in the second set and came from behind to continue his fine form as he won the match in three sets 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals.