Yuki Bhambri’s remarkable run at the ATP Masters event in Indian Wells came to an end in the third round as he went down to American Sam Querrey. In a match lasting two hours and 24 minutes, Bhmabri went down 7-6, 4-6, 4-6 in what has been his best showing in such a tournament at the senior level. Querrey will now take on Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who beat Jack Sock.
Bhambri, a former Australian Open junior champion, had already made giant strides in the week. First with his first win at a Masters tournament when he beat Nicolas Mahut in the first round and then took it up a significant notch by beating World No 12 Lucas Pouille. The progress into the third round will likely take Bhambri up to World No 106 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
In an erratic first set where the two men exchanged breaks of serves in the second and third game followed by the fifth, Bhambri edged forward to take a 4-2 lead. Serving for the set, Querrey saved one set point while Bhambri saved four break points but with the serve under severe pressure, the Indian buckled to be broken to make it 5-5. Bhambri then went on to clinch the opener in the tie break.
In the second and third sets, Querrey needed just one break of serve – fifth game in the second and the opening game in the third – to get that little advantage to close out the contest without much of a fuss. Such was Querrey’s dominance on serve in the latter two sets that he didn’t face a single break point. He would win 20/26 points on serve in the second set and 20/27 points in the deciding third.
On the first match point opportunity itself, the 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist Querrey closed things out when Bhambri’s backhand return on the kick serve went wide.