Somdev saunters into quarters

Ace Indian to face tricky opponent in Ze Zhang in last eight

Somdev saunters into quarters
After an unflattering start to his campaign in the ONGC-GAIL Delhi Open, India’s Somdev Devvarman gained some ground on Wednesday with a lopsided 6-2, 6-2 victory over an erratic Di Wu of China to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals.

In the battle between the No 1 players from the two countries, Somdev needed a mere 61 minutes to crush the challenge of Wu, who had won the Asian wildcard to play in the Australian Open for second year in succession.

With the wind subsiding a bit and Somdev better prepared to tackle the slow court surface and bounce, Wu was left to curb the unforced errors flowing from his racquet. He couldn’t for most part of the match making things easier for the Indian.

Somdev was sharper in his ground-strokes and serves and uncorked five aces in the match.  He broke the fleet-footed Chinese straightway for a 3-1 lead. The 96-ranked Indian broke him again in the fifth game before closing the set with an ace.

There were no reverse of fortunes in the second set as well with Wu’s half-hearted returns handing Somdev a 4-0 lead. Though Wu showed glimpses of fightback in the next two games, even pulling off a break in the sixth, Somdev was quick to arrest the slip.

He broke back immediately and then served out the match, when a backhand volley from Wu landed wide. “A guy like him is always dangerous. But the positives for me were that I worked really hard, especially in the first set. I played good tennis. I played the key points well and hope to continue that,” he said.

The second-seeded Indian now faces a tricky opponent, China’s No 2 Ze Zhang on Friday. Zhang overcame Swiss Marco Chiudinelli, once ranked 52 in the world, 7-5, 6-4. Zhang, who teamed up with Swiss great Roger Federer to play the doubles in Shanghai Masters in October last, called Somdev his “good friend”.

The experience of playing alongside Federer, Zhang conceded, added to his confidence.

In the $25,000 ITF women’s event, India’s Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare  went down fighting to third-seeded Thai pair  of Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Peangtam Plipuech 4-6, 7-5, 8-10 in the doubles quarterfinals.

Another Indian pair of Sai Chamarthi and Eetee Maheta lost tamely 1-6, 3-6 to the second-seeded combination of Ukraine’s Yuliya Beygelzimer and Emily-Webley Smith of England in the quarterfinals.

DH News Service   

Results: Pre-quarterfinals (Indians unless mentioned): 

Men’s singles: Prequarterfinals: Illya Marchenko (Ukr) bt Axel Michon (Fra) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; Ze Zhang (Chn) bt Marco Chiudinelli (Sui) 7-5, 6-4; Somdev Devvarman bt Di Wu (Chn) 6-2, 6-2. Women's singles: 8-Qiang Wang (Chn) bt Deniz Khazaniuk(Isr) 6-2, 6-0, Olga Savchuk (Ukr) bt Plipuech Peangtarn (Thai) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-Erika Sema (Jpn)  bt  Veronika Kapshay  (Ukr) 7-5, 6-6-7, 6-0.

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