Mumbai, March 12
Yuki Bhambri, world No. 110, pulled off a stunner when he defeated French world No. 12 Lucas Pouille in a second round match of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday.
The highest-ranked Indian men’s singles player prevailed over the ninth seeded Pouille 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes, 52 seconds. The win has ensured Bhambri 45 ranking points and USD 47,170.
In the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, Bhambri will face 18th seeded Sam Querrey, who beat Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-4, 7-5. This is Bhambri’s biggest win in terms of defeating higher ranked players on ATP circuit. Earlier, in August 2017, Bhambri had defeated then world No. 22 Gael Monfils in Citi Open. Yuki had beaten world number 16 Fabio Fognini in 2014 at the Chennai Open but the Italian had retired from that match due to a fitness issue. Bhambri, who is a regular member in India’s Davis Cup team, showed no nerves in his first meeting with Pouille, who was part of France’s 2017 Davis Cup winning team. In the first set, Bhambri broke Pouille, a 2016 US Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist, in the very first game and then broke him again to take a 4-1 lead. Though the sixth game saw Pouille breaking Bhambri’s serve, the 25-year-old Indian held his next two serves to win the first set 6-4.
In the second set, Bhambri broke Pouille in the third game to take an early lead. But the Frenchman was not ready to go down without a fight. Pouille broke Bhambri in the sixth game to restore parity at 3-3.
However, Bhmabhri broke Pouille back in the ninth game to take a crucial lead. He then held his serve to seal the big win.
Mumbai, March 12