ATP Indian Wells: Pierre-Hugues Herbert battles past Thomaz Bellucci in three sets, advances to the second round

ATP Indian Wells: Pierre-Hugues Herbert battles past Thomaz Bellucci in three sets, advances to the second round

Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert needed more than two and a half hours to defeat Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci in three sets to progress into the second round in Indian Wells.

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On Stadium 5 at the BNP Paribas Open during the first round, Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 6-3 to advance to the second round where 26th seeded Fernando Verdasco awaits. 

Herbert comes out on top in tiebreaker

Both players began the match by holding their own serves quite comfortably. After taking a love-40 lead in the third game, Herbert began making some unforced errors which allowed the Brazilian back into the game and send it to deuce. However, Herbert won the next two points to deny Bellucci any further inroads and stay ahead at 2-1 early on. It was then the Frenchman's turn to pile a bit of pressure to the world number 71.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a backhand shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a backhand shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Up 15-40, Bellucci allowed Herbert a way into the match by hitting unforced errors but just like the previous game, the player on serve won the game. From that moment on both players began getting through their service games much more comfortable and a tiebreaker would settle the opening set. Up 4-5 in the breaker, Bellucci then lost serve and Herbert found himself with a set point after hitting a splendid forehand winner. He then finished the set off after 50 minutes with a forehand winner to go up a set, 7-6(5). 

Bellucci bounces back, takes set via tiebreaker

With no breaks points on offer in the first set, in the opening game of the second Herbert managed to bring up a break point via an unforced error. The 29-year-old quickly erased the point with some good serving to bring the game back to deuce. The Brazilian would be pressurised throughout the game, having to save a further four break points just to avoid going behind as he eventually held to start the set. Herbert, on the other hand, came through his game much more easily to hold for 1-1 despite being taken to deuce. The two players then found their rhythm on serve temporarily before the Frenchman began upping his levels in the seventh game.

Thomaz Bellucci in action at the recent Rio Open (Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Thomaz Bellucci in action at the recent Rio Open (Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Down love-30, Bellucci served up a double fault as he faced three break points. The Frenchman then hit a forehand which forced the error as the match got its first break of serve. This was followed by a hold of serve with the 25-year-old going 5-3 up. Just two games later serving for the match, Bellucci raced away to a love-40 lead, gaining triple break back points. A double fault gifted the break before the Brazilian consolidated and edged back out infront at 5-6. Herbert held serve and took the set to the tiebreaker, which was won by Bellucci 1-7 as he forced a third and final set, 6-7(1). 

Herbert takes the third set, advances to the second round 

The third set began as a carbon copy to the first. Both players started out by holding their first service games. Bellucci then applied pressure to the world number 74 taking him to deuce before losing the game. Herbert then applied the same amount of pressure and also took Bellucci to deuce. But just like the previous game, the player on serve dealt with the pressure to hold serve and keep the set on serve. Both then began holding serve comfortably with no breakpoints being carved out until the eighth game with the Brazilian on serve at 4-3.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a return (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert plays a return (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

A backhand wide allowed the Frenchman to bring up the sets first break point at advantage. The Brazilian then made Herbert play an unforced error as the game went to deuce once more. However, Herbert continued to apply some pressure which paid off as a second break point arrived before Bellucci sent a forehand straight into the net with Herbert breaking for 5-3. 30-30 in the next game, Herbert fired an ace to bring up a match point. One was saved via a double fault, however, Herbert gained a second and finished the contest in two hours 35 minutes with a good first serve to book his place in the second round. 

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