Miami Open kicks off with men’s qualifying round, media day

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Miami (US), March 21 (IANS) India’s Yuki Bhambri, ranked 177th in the world, sealed a place in the first round of the Miami Open tennis tournament after beating Sweden’s Elias Ymer.

Bhambri defeated world number 133 in straight sets on Tuesday, 7-5, 6-2 to qualify for the tournament’s first round, where he will face Bosnia’s Mirza Basic, ranked 75th by the ATP, reports Efe.

Elsewhere in qualifying, Thanasis Kokkinakis of Australia saw off the challenge from Japan’s Taro Daniel in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5.

He will face France’s Calvin Hemery, who came back from a set down to overcome the US’s Denis Kudla 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Several higher ranked players were given a bye into the second round, including Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

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The No.4-ranked Bulgarian, who received a bye to round two, will be hoping to overcome recent illness after a promising showing at the Australian Open, where he was knocked out at the quarterfinal stage.

“I’m definitely going to lower my expectations a little bit coming into this week. I just haven’t played that many matches in the past few weeks,” Dimitrov said on Tuesday.

“I’m just starting to feel my body good, and I’m feeling confident. Step-by-step I just want to build my game up and make sure that I’m doing the best that I can.”

World number 5 Alexander Zverev also has a bye for the first round, and was full of praise for former star and current head of men’s tennis for the German tennis federation, Boris Becker.

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“It’s great. He’s trying to help us all develop as much as we can,” Zverev said, adding that Becker was particularly helpful with “a lot of tactical stuff, how to play different players.”

The Miami Open runs until April 1.

–IANS

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