Yuki Bhambri had appeared at the Australian Open main draw twice before. A junior champion here, he has been hurt by the draw in the past where he faced Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych. This time around, he was drawn with Marcos Baghdatis. Of the three, Baghdatis, despite being a former finalist, would be the easiest of the predicaments. And yet, by the time these two were done on Court 8, the Cypriot had won in straight sets 7-6, 6-4, 6-3. Bhambri had a chance to close it out in the first set but failed on two situations where he was ahead. The second and third remained on serve for the most part before Baghdatis made the difference in crucial games.
Yuki Bhambri vs Marcos Baghdatis Scores and Updates:
1400 hrs IST: GAME, SET, MATCH! Yuki Bhambri has fallen at the first hurdle for a third time in Melbourne. Baghdatis wins 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 in comfortable fashion in the end
1318 hrs IST: SET! Bhambri sends his forehand return on the Baghdatis serve long and that is the set for the World No 102. 6-4 and he takes a two sets to love lead. Baghdatis just able to pull forward at crucial moments and that has been the difference so far
1315 hrs IST: BROKEN! Bhambri has been broken at the worst possible time and for Baghdatis, the most opportune time for it. Gets the break in the ninth game and after the change, Baghdatis will serve for the set at 5-4.
1304 hrs IST: In sharp contrast to the first set, the second set has seen no breaks of serves so far and assured work from both with the serve. 3-3 in the second set.
1233 hrs IST: TIEBREAK! Yuki Bhambri starts by getting a mini break. But Baghdatis, as has been the theme, gets one back. Third point sees Bhambri drop his racket for the dead at the net with the ball dipping on him. Gets the ball to go over and Baghdatis fails to pick up the drop. 2-1. Poor play from Baghdatis after an incredible lob. His drop shot is too high and Bhambri is quick to whip it for a backhand winner down the line. 3-1 now. WOW! Baghdatis was on the floor in desperate attempt to retrieve a forehand. Gets up as Bhambri’s forehand doesn’t find the right angle. Follows it up with a volley error and then another. 3-3 now at the change of ends. This is poor from Bhambri. Led 3-1, then 4-3 and then goes on to concede three straight points and the first set. Baghdatis takes the first set 7-6 (4) and gestures to his head while looking at the crowd which raises the volume
1226 hrs IST: Bhambri serving to stay in the first set. Quickly goes up 40-0 with strong serving. Follows it up with a double fault and then a poor forehand on the approach. Puts plenty into it and it sails long. Baghdatis looks to have sent his forehand long but he immediately challenges. HawkEye confirms it was IN. Bhambri sent his backhand return into the net even as linesman called ‘OUT’. So Deuce. Argues with the chair umpire but to no avail. Good serve out wide and then an inside-out forehand winner. Another Baghdatis shot is close to the line and once again he calls for a challenge. This time it is out. HOLD. And we’re headed for a tiebreak.
1225 hrs IST: HOLD! Baghdatis has little trouble holding his serve now. It is almost a pattern now. Break first and hold next. Baghdatis with two booming aces to bang the board behind. Leads 6-5 in the first set
1219 hrs IST: Yuki Bhambri to serve for the opening set. Cagey game and very, very nervous approach here from Bhambri. Not what he should be doing when Baghdatis is making plenty of mistakes. The Cypriot has break point chance and Bhambri tries to go for a backhand shot near the net but the approach is poor. Neither down the line or angled away, straight into Baghdatis’ path and the return is too much for Bhambri to volley back. BROKEN! 5-5 in the first set
1217 hrs IST: 4-4 in the first set and Bhambri has three break points. A booming forehand while moving forward and Baghdatis has no reply. Comes back to save one as Bhambri fails to return the first serve. But can’t save the second. Sends his backhand wide and Bhambri breaks. 5-4 in the first set
1210 hrs IST: BREAK! Six games played and four breaks of serve. Bhambri fails to hold on to the advantage he had created and is broken right away. 3-3 in the first set. Baghdatis comes back and holds serve successfully. 4-3 in the first set
1209 hrs IST: Another well attended day at the Australian Open. Court 8 is expectedly packed too. Many fans support Baghdatis when he comes to Melbourne.
1207 hrs IST: BREAK AGAIN! Baghdatis is broken once again as he shanks his forehand. A complete mishit and the forehand is well wide. Been poor serving so far from the Cypriot. Bhambri up 3-2 in the first set
1203 hrs IST: Bhambri sends his backhand into the net after a long rally. It brings up break point for Baghdatis. And it is converted on the first time of asking. Bhambri with a nice deep serve and it gets a short reply but the Indian player goes for a bit too much on the sideline. It misses and Bhambri is broken. 2-2 in the first set
1157 hrs IST: Great start for Bhambri. Looks confident in his serve and has Baghdatis scrambling on the backhand side. It is enough for him to consolidate the break. Up 2-0 in the first set. But Baghdatis comes back to hold. 2-1 now
1151 hrs IST: Baghdatis serves first and is broken in the very first game. A deep return from Bhambri on the first serve and Baghdatis fails to control his forehand which goes into the net. Two break point chances early on and the first one is converted!
1131 hrs IST: Yuki at Australian Open previously: lost to Andy Murray (2015) and Tomas Berdych (2016). Baghdatis now. These two have never met professionally before
1130 hrs IST: We’ve been made to wait longer than expected. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to beat Kozlova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. But now it is Yuki’s turn to take the court
1040 hrs IST: Hello and Good Morning for our live coverage of Yuki Bhambri, Índia’s sole representative in the singles draw, against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus at Australian Open. They will be playing on Court 8. Bit of a read up on Bhambri’s final qualifying round win on Sunday by Shahid Judge here.