As far as tests go, this did not involve the use of an acid. Instead, it was more like swimming through a lukewarm pool. The test did not lead to corrosion; rather, Somdev Devvarman scripted an unsoiled passage to the quarterfinals.
For Di Wu, China’s highest-ranked singles player at 212, rarely posed tough questions. Devvarman won the second round match 6-2, 6-2 in 61 minutes at the ONGC GAIL $100,000 Delhi Open Challenger tennis tournament on Wednesday.
Multiple factors ensured that Devvarman could excel without ever raising his game. The centre court is markedly slower than other playing areas at the DLTA complex.
The surface is to Devvarman’s liking. It allows the extensive deployment of his redoubtable defensive capabilities.
“The slow surface suits my game. Wu returns well but he struggled on this court,” said the second-seeded Indian.
Down 1-4 in the second set, Wu displayed his latent ability for a little while.
The Chinese stepped inside the court to attack Devvarman when the latter led his service game 30-15. Wu succeeded in winning that game, but his brilliance was limited to those three points.
In the following game, Wu’s serve was broken again. And this time, so was his resolve.
A double fault was followed by a poorly executed drop shot that failed to reach the other side.
This was not the first time Wu committed the same error. Devvarman put him out of his misery soon enough.
Ze Zhang advances
After his successful conquest of the top-ranked Chinese player, Devvarman meets the next best from China in the last eight on Friday. Ze Zhang defeated higher-ranked Marco Chiudinelli 7-5, 6-4 on the centre court. Zhang adapted better to the surface and attacked his opponent with greater success than Di Wu.
Serving at 6-5 in the first set, Zhang went 40-0 up but eventually required seven set points to seal it.
The Chinese later said that he made the task difficult due to nerves. But to his credit, Zhang did not let the opportunity go and won the match in straight sets.
The Chinese has played his “good friend’ Devvarman once, at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, but lost in straight sets.
Zhang also counts Roger Federer among his friends after partnering the Swiss in doubles at last year’s Shanghai Masters. According to Zhang,
Federer helped him to become more confident and aggressive. Come Friday, Zhang will need to put those attributes to use.
Singles: Pre-quarterfinals: Ilija Bozoljac (Srb) bt Mohamed Safwat (Egy) 6-3, 6-1; Illya Marchenko (Ukr) bt Axel Michon (Fra) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; Ze Zhang (Chn) bt Marco Chiudinelli (Sui) 7-5, 6-4; Somdev Devvarman bt Di Wu (Chn) 6-2, 6-2.
First round: Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz) bt Gerard Granollers (Esp) 7-6 (6), 6-1; Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) bt Rui Machado (Por) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Di Wu bt Ti Chen (Tpe) 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) & Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz) 6-7 (6), 6-1, 10-5; Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Esp) and Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz) bt Matthias Bachinger (Ger) and Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6-7 (6), 6-1, 10-5; Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Vishnu Vardhan bt Michael Venus (Nzl) and Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 5-7, 11-9.
First round: Illya Marchenko (Ukr) & Radu Albot (Mda) bt Theodoros Angelinos (Gre) & Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 5-7, 10-6; Sanchai Ratiwatana & Sonchat Ratiwatana (Tha) bt Hsien-Yin Peng & Tsung-Hua Yang (Tpe) 3-6, 6-3, 12-10.