Somdev powers to title triumph

Somdev powers to title triumph

Wang wins women’s ITF event

Somdev Devvarman regaled a near-capacity crowd at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over an off-colour Aleksandr Nedovyesov to clinch the GAIL-ONGC Delhi Open tournament on Sunday.

The men’s singles contest between the top two seeds at the $100,000 Challenger started on a bright note before Nedovyesov crumbled inexplicably to errors. Somdev, later in an on court interview, informed that the top seed was suffering from some injury but the Kazak refused to elaborate, saying he wouldn’t like to offer any excuses.

Nonetheless, it was a victory that Somdev would cherish. This was his third Challenger title and his first in four years.  

“My team and I decided to jump in the pool if I win the title. It was a joke then as I had not won a title since 2010. So we jumped in today (Sunday) and went on with our lives,” Somdev grinned.

Till a few weeks ago, Somdev was struggling with his form but improved with each match to end his title drought. Somdev served with a lot of purpose – giving away just 10 points to his opponent of his service game. He also kept up with the Kazak, who at the start of the match, was cracking winners all across the court. 

The contest augured hope of an exciting clash with the match tied at 3-3 in the first set but once Somdev broke in he 7th game, the tables turned. He further consolidated the break with a love service game for a 5-3 lead Somdev winded up a love service game for 5-3 lead before breaking Nedovyesov again to pocket the first set.  

The ambience at the stadium was reminiscent of Davis Cup ties gone by.  The Kazak, who had twice mounted a comeback from a set down this week, however, couldn’t do an encore. His movements were tight and he made errors on both wings. It didn’t take Somdev long to open up a 5-0 lead before serving out the match in an hour’s time.  

“Overall I am happy with this week. I don’t remember the last time I won a match losing just 10 points on my serve. I had never won without dropping a set, so definitely it is one of my best performances,” said Somdev, who now flies to Dubai to play 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro on Tuesday. “I am happy to have played and won in India. I don’t remember when I had seen this many people for a Challenger.” 

The victory made Somdev richer by $14,400 and 100 ATP points and rounded off a rewarding three-Challenger series at home for the Indian players. In the $25,000 ITF women’s event, eighth-seeded Qiang Wang of China upset third-seeded Yuliya Beygelzimer 6-1, 6-3 to win the women’s singles title.

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