Bhambri-Olivetti pair exits Marrakech Open with semifinal defeat

MARRAKECH (MOROCCO), Apr 6: India’s Yuki Bhambri and his French partner Albano Olivetti crashed out of Marrakech Open after losing the hard-fought semifinal to second seeds Lucas Miedler and Alexander Erler of Austria.

The unseeded Indo-French pair lost the gruelling last-four stage match 5-7 6-3 7-10 in the ATP 250 clay court event on Friday night.

Bhambri and Olivetti had earlier knocked out third seeds Nicholas Barrientos and Rafael Matos in the quarterfinals.

It was a closely-contested match between the two pairs. Bhambri and Olivetti converted only two of the six breakpoints in the match while their opponents converted both their chances.

There was no let up in the decider as the contest went down to the wire, where Miedler and Erler sealed the contest in the Super tie-breaker.

Bhambri has teamed up with Olivetti for the first time this season, having played with Dutchman Robin Haase in most of the tournaments.

The Indian had paired with former partner Michael Venus from New Zealand at the Miami Masters where they made a first round exit.

Bhambri’s best performance of the season came at in ATP 500 Dubai, where as qualifiers the Indian and Haase reached the semifinals, earning crucial 225 ranking points.

Ranked 62, the 31-year-old Bhambri is India’s second highest ranked player behind world number one Rohan Bopanna.

It will be interesting to see if Bopanna chooses Bhambri as his partner for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Bopanna being a top-10 player will have the choice of selecting his partner.

Bhambri confirmed to PTI that as of today he has not heard from Bopanna about the possible pairing.

The cut off date to consider rankings for direct entries is June 10 and the last date to submit names by the National Olympic Committees is June 19.

Meanwhile, at the ATP Houston Open, India’s N Sriram Balaji and his German partner Andre Begemann bowed out after losing their semifinal 7-6(5) 2-6 3-10 to fourth-seeded Australian duo of Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.  (PTI)