Yuki Bhambri continued his rich form on the American hardcourts after beating Mirza Basic in the first round of the Miami Open. The Indian came through 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 32 minutes to move into the second round where American Jack Sock awaits. Sock, ranked World No 11, had a bye in the opening round.
Bhambri once again produced a remarkable show on serve. He saved five of seven break point opportunities to always steer ahead on Basic’s. Whenever his serve came under pressure, he would mix things up on the second serve to win 71% of the points. He was coming into the main draw with two matches closed out without dopping a serve. Basic, on the other hand, had his serve broken five times in the match while struggling to match the depth that Bhambri had on the groundstrokes.
Yuki took an injury timeout in the middle of the second set for what looked like a case of blisters. Despite the medical timeout, Bhambri maintained his composure to keep the break of serve intact to close out the match after 90 minutes of play.
Bhambri started the second set with a break of serve but Basic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, came back to bring draw parity at 2-2. Bhambri, however, quickly regained the advantage by breaking right back. Leading 3-2 in the second set, Bhambri took the medical time out for treatment on his foot. He closed out the contest soon enough – on the third match point – when Basic’s desperate backhand slice attempt on the run went wide.
The first set was more of a closely fought contest with the first six games staying on serve. After a lengthy seventh game, Bhambri moved forward by breaking Basic’s serve but the World No 75 came straight back. Bhambri then took the all important break in the 11th game before going on to hold serve to take the opening set 7-5.
Bhambri has had an impressive showing in two consecutive ATP Masters 1000 events by coming through the qualifiers to make the main draws of both Indian Wells and Miami. He went on to reach the third round in Indian Wells before going down to Sam Querrey. Next up for him is Sock with Bhambri holding a 1-0 head-to-head advantage. The Indian had beaten Sock in 2013 in a Challenger event.