N Sriram Balaji’s triumph boosts hopes for the Olympics

The Mexican Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela Martinez and Balaji, who is probably Bopanna’s selection for the Paris Games, worked well together to defeat American Reese Stalder and Dutch player Sem 6-3, 6-4 in the French Open.

After winning his first match at the French Open, Sriram Balaji made a compelling argument for himself and Rohan Bopanna’s inclusion in the Indian men’s doubles squad for the Paris Olympics. However, Yuki Bhambri, the other candidate for the spot, lost in the first round of this tournament on Friday. Even though the team lost, Yuki was still proud of his all-around skills, baseline hitting prowess, and respectable serve. In the first round, Yuki and Olivetti fell to Russia’s Roman Safiullin and Australia’s John Peers, 3-6 6-7(5).

The Vicory

The Mexican Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela Martinez and Balaji, who is probably Bopanna’s selection for the Paris Games, worked well together to defeat American Reese Stalder and Dutch player Sem 6-3, 6-4.
Verbiage. Balaji has steadily improved tremendously as a doubles player. From the stands, Bopanna was observing Yuki’s match and figuring out who would be a better partner for him. Yuki had some difficulty with his French partner throughout the first set.

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Photo Source: Hindustan Times

The Chances

They had given their opponents too many opportunities to score easy wins by leaving the court unguarded. In the fourth game, Yuki gave up the serve after his weak backhand smashed into the net. From that point on, Peers and Safiullin found it far too simple. When he came back to serve, the Indian was once more down 0-30, but he held. In game four of the second set, Yuki’s winning overhead volley gave a break opportunity when Safiullin served, but the Indian responded merely lengthy. When Olivetti was down 15–40, Peers did not let the opportunity pass him by, as the Australian found a crushing service return winner to take the first blood.

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The Comeback

The Indo-French duo had an opportunity to apply pressure and regain the break at 30-all on Safiullah’s serve in game eight, but Peers’ overhead smash winner saved the day. The next point saw an intriguing tussle between Yuki and Safiullin, which ended in a deuce, but some strong serves and returns secured a hold for the Australian-Russian combination. After two deuce points to trail by a match point, Olivetti came out to serve in an attempt to stay in the match. Yuki made a winning volley at the net to save that.

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The Final Hurdle

Serving in order to win the match Peers was broken as Yuki came back incredibly well to deserve those opportunities and win the match. On the second match point, Yuki’s backhand struck the net, extending the match into a tiebreaker. The men’s doubles first round will pit India’s best players, Bopanna and Sumit Nagal, against one another on Saturday. Nagal and Sebastian Ofner of Austria were Nagal’s alternate pair when they entered the draw.

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