End of road for Somdev

Tennis: Chennai Open: Indian goes down to Serbian Tipsarevic; Cilic enters quarterfinals

End of road for Somdev


Power unleashed: Croatia’s Marin Cilic plays a backhand return during his second-round  win over Spain’s Marcel Granollers in the Chennai Open on Wednesday. AFP

Admittedly, Janko Tipsarevic was never going to be an easy nut to crack. The fourth-seeded Serbian, coming off a win over former champion Carlos Moya, was slow off the blocks but as the match wore on, he literally toyed with the crowd favourite to score a facile 6-2, 6-1 win in 72 minutes and set up a quarterfinal date with Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands.    

In the first match of the day, second-seeded Croatian and defending champion Marin Cilic rallied in fine style to show the exit door to Marcel Granollers of Spain.
In the longest match of this tournament, Cilic scored a come-from-behind 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4 victory in close to three hours to set up a quarterfinal match against Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

The other finalist of the previous year – Devvarman – wasn’t that lucky. He did pull off two breaks in the first set, but the highest-ranked Indian held serve only once in his entire second-round match and that essentially was the difference between the two. The set went with breaks till the fifth game before Tipsarevic held his in the sixth to open up a 4-2 lead. A brilliant cross-court winner gave another break for the World number 24. Devvarman held a break point in the eighth game, but the Serbian reeled off three winners on the trot to grab the set.  Somdev held his serve in the first game of the second set but his fancied rival won six games on the trot, including three breaks, to seal the set and the match.

Earlier, Cilic survived a huge scare from Spain’s Granollers, who stretched his fancied rival with a spirited display. There was nothing to separate the two in the first set which was decided via the tie-breaker.

Both the players came close to breaking each other on a few occasions, but failed to provide the finishing touches. Unlike the set, the tie-breaker was a rather one-sided affair with Granollers clinching it with minimum fuss.

While the first set went by serves, the second saw breaks being traded till the sixth game as both the players went on the offensive. It made for a riveting passage of play. Granollers, well aware of Cilic’s strong point, didn’t allow the second seed to unleash his forehand, managing to keep the ball to the left of the court for most part of first set.

“He (Granollers) played really well. He was going offensive from the beginning, coming up with some brilliant shots. I found it really difficult to match him,” Cilic said later.

In the second set, however, Granollers, trying to match Cilic shot for shot, allowed the Croat to play to his strength. After tightening up his defence mid-way through the second set, Cilic went ahead of his rival with a break in the eighth game before wrapping up the set to take the game into the decider.

Cilic ran up a 2-0 lead in the third with a break in the first game, but Granollers leveled the scores breaking the tournament’s top seed in the fourth. The Spanish player lost his serve in the next and Cilic didn’t need another invitation to close out the tie.

Results (second round): Santiago Giraldo (Col) bt Jan Hajek (Cze) 6-4, 6-2; Thiemo de Bakker (Ned) bt Robin Haase (Ned) 6-3, 6-4; 2-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Marcel Granollers (Esp) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4; 4-Janko Tipsarevic (Ser) bt WC-Somdev Devvarman (Ind) 6-2, 6-1. 

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