Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) India’s highest ranked singles player Yuki Bhambri was beaten 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 by Czech Tomas Berdych in the opening round of the Australian Open tennis tournament here on Monday.
The World No.6 needed one hour and 45 minutes to defeat the 96th ranked Indian at the Margaret Court Arena. It was Bhambri’s second appearance in Grand Slams and the first direct entry in the main draw.
Bhambri began the action brightly but gradually drifted away from the game after losing the first set narrowly. Bhambri’s lack of experience saw him turn winning positions into losing ones, committing several mistakes. He lost his opening service game in all three sets, making it even tougher for him to mount a serious challenge. Bhambri was able to break Berdych’s service only once, in the opening set, but witnessed his own serve getting dismantled with six breaks.
Berdych converted six of the eight break chances he got. Berdych hit 35 winners, including 13 aces, and won 93 of the total 155 points played to set up a date with Bosnia’s Mirza Basic in the second round, a 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4 winner over Robin Haase. Berdych won 35 of the 39 first serve points, kicking off his bid to reach the semi-finals in the tournament for the third straight year.