Somdev marches into semifinals

Beygelzimer tames Ankita

Somdev marches into semifinals
Somdev Devvarman had barely sat on his chair after wrapping up the first set 6-2 when his opponent Ze Zhang of China decided to pull out from the men’s singles quarterfinals of the ONGC-GAIL Delhi Open due to a right shoulder strain. Zhang’s retirement took the Indian to his third straight semifinals of the Challenger tournament series on Friday.

It wasn’t the way the World No 96 Indian would have liked to make the foray into the last eight stage. But he had been long on the circuit to understand that it was part and parcel of the game. While he was “happy” to make it to the semifinals. he didn’t forget to acknowledge his injured opponent, with whom he had been on friendly terms.

“I am happy to be in the semifinals. It is unfortunate that Zhang was injured but it is part and parcel of the game. He is a good player with a big serve and a forehand but could not compete today,” said Somdev after his 34-minute clash.

In the repeat of the semifinal match in Kolkata Challenger, Somdev, seeded-second, meets fourth-seeded Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, who had beaten him in three sets.
In men’s doubles, the winners of Kolkata Challenger, Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh of India, stormed into the final with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan. The Indians now meet Ratiwatana twins, Sanchai and Sonchat, who beat Indian pair of Vishnu Vardhan and Jeevan Needunchiziyan 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.

In the women’s $25,000 ITF event, the lone Indian in the fray Ankita Raina ran into seasoned campaigner Yuliya Beygelzimer of Ukraine.  The young Indian put up a good fight but wasn’t consistent enough to make her chances count against the third seed.
In the first set, peppered by numerous of break of serves, the Ukrainian, with an all-round game, inflicted the decisive break in the ninth game with a drive volley to pocket the set in 48th minutes.

Powerful returns

Ankita returned better in the second set. With her power-packed returns, she broke Yuliya in the first game, only to be broken back immediately. Thereafter, the two dished out a quality fare but the Ukrainian controlled the rallies by creating sharp angles in her groundstrokes which sent Ankita scurrying to the corners.  

The Indian did well to save three match points, two in the tenth game, but muffed up a forehand on the fourth, which came on her serve in the 12th game, to halt her march in the tournament.

“I had my chances but I needed to be more patient.  Also, I had a poor shot selection on some points. But reaching the quarters of first $25,000 event of the year has given me a lot of confidence,” said Ankita.

DH News Service

Results (Quarterfinals, prefix denotes seeding):  Men’s singles: 2-Somdev Devvarman (Ind) bt Ze Zhang (Ch) 6-2 (retired); 4-Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) Radu Albot (Mol) 6-2, 6-2; 1-Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz) bt Lucas Pouille (Fra) 6-2, 6-4;  Ilija Bozoljac (Srb) bt Illya Marchenko (Ukr) 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).
Women's singles: 3-Yuliya Beygelzimer (Ukr) bt Ankita Raina (Ind) 6-3, 7-5; 8-Qiang Wang (Chn) bt Erika Sema (Jpn) 6-2, 6-3; 7-Ilona Kremen (Blr) bt Yurika Sema (Jpn) 6-3, 6-1; 2-Olga Savchuk (Ukr) bt Varatchaya Wongteanchai (Tha) 6-2, 6-2.

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