Somdev eases into ATP Delhi Open quarters

New Delhi, Feb 19: Second seed Somdev Devvarman advanced to the men’s singles quarterfinal of the $100,000 ONGC GAIL Delhi Open ATP Challenger tennis tournament with an easy win over China’s Di Wu here Wednesday.

The highest-ranked Indian won 6-2, 6-2 at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex centre court in just over an hour.

However, as Somdev said, “the match was much tighter than the scoreline suggested”. The lower ranked Chinese played some powerful shots but failed to breach the Indian’s defences, costing him the match.

From the outset, Di Wu played aggressively. Somdev’s retrieving abilities were on show as he continuously forced the Chinese into making errors. Somdev, who is ranked 96th in the world, broke Di Wu in the third game to take a 2-1 lead.

At 4-2, the 212-ranked Chinese was again under the pump on his serve, 15-40 behind. A backhand top spin down the line by Somdev saw his opponent scrambling for the ball and the Indian finished off the game with an overhead smash following a weak lob.

Somdev closed out the set on his serve after coming under a little pressure. But such was the domination of his serve that the Chinese failed to win even a single break-point opportunity. The Indian quickly got out of the blocks in the second, rushing to a 4-0 lead. Di Wu made too many unforced errors.

Unable to get past Somdev’s defence, the Chinese tried to find the corners and in the process made too many mistakes. The ignominy of losing the set at love seemed to stir the Chinese in to action. His ground strokes had the Indian scampering all over the court and he held his serve to make it 4-1.

He then for the first time in the match broke Somdev’s serve in the very next game to take to the score to 4-2 in favour of the Indian. The Chinese made a hash of a drop shot in his next service game, handing the Indian an opportunity to serve for the match. Somdev didn’t disappoint as he held serve to close out the match.

“I feel I can play a lot better. The court is slow and it suited my game play more than my opponent’s,” Somdev told reporters after the match.

“He has a fast game and due to the slowness of the court and extra bounce, I think he struggled.

“I’m happy to qualify for the quarters and will give my best to go further in the tournament,” said Somdev.