Somdev storms into final; faces top seed Nedovyesov

Somdev storms into final; faces top seed Nedovyesov

India’s Somdev Devvarman produced a sharp and confident performance against a quality opponent in Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy to storm into the men’s singles final of ONGC-GAIL Delhi Open with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the R K Khanna Tennis Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

This is the fourth Challenger tournament final for the second-seeded Indian. His previous final which fetched him his second title at this level came in Turkey in 2010. The win must have been especially sweet for Somdev, who had lost in three sets to Donskoy in Kolkata Challenger last week. This day it took the 96th-ranked Indian merely an hour and 28 minutes to pack off the fourth-seeded Russian.

Somdev now plays top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhsatan, who rallied to beat Ilija Bozlojac of Serbia 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in an engrossing contest. In more good news for the Indian fans, Sanam Singh and Saketh Myneni overcame second-seeded Ratiwatana brothers-Sonchat and Sanchai  7-6(5), 6-4 to lift the doubles title.

The Indian pair emerged the winner in the Kolkata Challenger too. Third-seeded Thai pair of Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Peangtarn Plipuech, defeated the top seeded Japanese pair of Erika and Yurika Sema 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win the women's doubles title.

A big server and solid on both flanks, Donskoy, however, struggled with his rhythm on the slow centre court.

To his credit, Somdev did well to recover from a slow start when he trailed 0-3 in the first set. But once he held his serve, he began to find the range in his groundstrokes and changed the complexion of the match.

The match expectedly witnessed long rallies but Somdev counterpunched with flair to come on top.  The first set saw a series of service breaks. The Indian pulled off the decisive break in the ninth game before closing out the match on the back of some good serving.

The two exchanged early breaks in the second set and there were phases when it appeared that the Russian might be getting into his groove. That couldn’t continue for long. Somdev, too, kept up the pressure by complementing his fluent groundstokes with well-timed volleys.

The errors from the Russian only increased and Somdev, soon, served out the match when Donskoy’s backhand sailed long. In the women’s singles semifinals, Ukraine’s Yuliya Beygelzimer, seeded third, beat compatriot and second seed Olga Savchuk 6-2, 6-1 to set up a title clash with eighth-seeded China’s Qiang Wang. Wang beat Belarus’s Ilona Kremen 6-2, 6-3.

Meanwhile, AITA’s coaching education system has got the recognition of ITF upto silver level for a four-year period from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017. It was conveyed by ITF in a letter to AITA president Anil Khanna dated February 17.

Results: Semifinals: Men’s singles: 2-Somdev Devvarman bt 4-Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) 6-4, 6-3,1- Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz)bt  Ilija Bozlojac (Serb)  4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3. Women’s singles: 3-Yuliya Beygelzimer (Ukr) bt Olga Savchuk (Ukr) 6-2, 6-1, 8- Qiang Wang (Chn) bt  Ilona Kremen (Blr) 6-2, 6-3.

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