Indian Yuki Bhambri earned his first tour-level win in almost four years on Monday, clawing past Jozef Kovalik 6-7(10), 6-2, 7-5 at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune.
The former World No. 83, whose last victory at this level came against Mirza Basic in Miami in 2018, has only played two tour-level singles matches since 2019 due to a right knee injury.
In a hard-fought clash on home soil, the 29-year-old recovered from squandering three set points in an intense first-set tie-break to prevail after three hours and seven minutes.
“It was really long and really tough but I am happy to get through,” Bhambri said. “It is a privilege to play at home and it is an important win as well playing at my home tournament. Each match is tough at tour-level so I am just taking it one match at a time.”
Bhambri is making his second appearance at the ATP 250 event and will look to continue his run against either countryman Ramkumar Ramanathan or Italy’s Stefano Travaglia in the second round.
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Radu Albot continued his journey back towards the Top 100 with a 6-2, 7-6(3) first-round win over Italian Federico Gaio in one hour and 50 minutes.
The World No. 108 has struggled with injuries since reaching a career-high No. 39 in 2019. However, he arrived in Pune in form after he equalled his best Grand-Slam performance by advancing to the third round at the Australian Open earlier this month.
The Moldovan broke three times to set up a meeting against either fifth-seeded German Daniel Altmaier or Indian wild card Prajnesh Gunneswaran.
In other action, Quentin Halys lost just two points on his first serve as he upset seventh seed Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-2 after 74 minutes.
The Frenchman fired six aces and saved both break points he faced to clinch his first tour-level win since 2018. Berankis is a former semi-finalist in Pune, having reached the last four in 2020. Halys will next play Briton qualifier Jay Clarke or Pole Kamil Majchrzak.