Paes & Dlouhy crash out; Bhupathi & Knowles advance to second round
Chennai: Somdev Devvarman’s regard for age and experience lasted a little longer than a set. Time spent away from home in training, and the three-week stint with Andy Roddick last month eventually shaped his mental approach in the second and third sets against Carlos Moya, in the second round of the Chennai Open tennis tournament at the Nungambakkam Stadium on Thursday.
Devvarman stunned the two-time champion 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to become only the first Indian wildcard to reach the quarterfinals of the event. The 23-year-old also became the second Indian to make it to the last eight. Leander Paes did it first in run to the semifinals in 1998.
Match-ups such as these conform to a pattern. Ground is conceded to experience and pedigree. Then comes a transitory period when belief is equally shared before the prospect of a victory for the underdog emerges.
The Spaniard played within himself in the first set but Devvarman needed time to strategise against the former champion.
From the business end of the closely fought second set, Moya played into Devvarman’s hands with tactics compelled by fatigue. The lack of complete confidence and control while coming were apparently exploited by Devvarman in his capacity as a proactive counter-puncher.
Recognising Devvarman’s countering skills in the first set, the Spaniard used his forehand, picking the cross-court version to give himself a set-point, and he wrapped it up when Devvarman hit long off the next point.
The second set was more of an even contest between the two before Moya started tiring. He began coming in, and Devvarman sensed a chance was on offer.
Moya stepped it up when it mattered, saving two breakpoints, but Devvarman was in control of proceedings. The 23-year-old was patient, but knew when to force the pace and look for winners.
In the decider, the fatigued Moya played some uncharacteristic shots — he was also repeatedly passed when he went in — while Devvarman served like a dream. The confidence the Indian had in his shots made them work like they did. Moya was allowed the chance to set the pace, but it was the Indian who forced the result.
His winning shot, an overhead smash, proved a resounding end to the contest.
“I forced him into errors in the second and third set. I got the break upfront in the third, which really made the difference. I kind of sent him a message that I’m not going to go away and quit.
What really worked for me was my serve. A lot of my game revolves around holding my serve and putting pressure on the opponent. I was aware that I was playing Carlos Moya, who I’ve watched (growing up), but I had the belief,” said Devvarman.
“I was tired and tried to force the play. I tried taking risks to shorten points, and made mistakes. I played and lost. It’s all part of the game. I was feeling tired and had no energy left towards the end. It is unfortunate,” said Moya.
Second seeds Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy crashed out of the doubles event, after a 4-6, 6-2, 10-7 loss to Rainer Schuettler and Bjorn Phau in the first round.
The duo did well to break back in the first set after the Germans broke in the fourth game.
In the second set, a few lapses in the fourth game while serving decided the course of the set.
In another first round encounter, Devvarman and Prakash Amritraj had the opportunities, but the experience of top-seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles prevailed. Bhupathi and Knowles won 7-6(3), 7-6(8).
Singles: Second round: Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb) 6-0, 6-4; Rainer Schuettler (Ger) bt Simon Greul (Ger) 6-4, 6-2; Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Dudi Sela (Isr) 7-6(3), 6-4; Bjorn Phau (Ger) bt Flavio Cipolla (Ita) 6-1, 6-2; Somdev Devvarman (Ind) bt Carlos Moya (Esp) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; Marcel Granollers (Esp) bt Andreas Beck (Ger) 6-4, 6-1; Ivo Karlovic (Cro) bt Ivo Minar (Cze) 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles: Second round: Eric Butorac & Rajeev Ram (USA) bt Rogier Wassen (Ned) & Lovro Zovko (Cro) 6-2, 6-3. Scott Lipsky & David Martin (USA) bt Oliver Marach (Aut) & Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) 6-7(6), 7-5, 10-8. First round: Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) & Mark Knowles (Bah) bt Prakash Amritraj & Somdev Devvarman (Ind) 7-6(3), 7-6(8); Jean-Claude Scherrer & Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Yves Allegro (Sui) & Horia Tecau (Rom) 7-6(5), 6-4; Rainer Schuettler & Bjorn Phau (Ger) bt Leander Paes (Ind) & Lukas Dlouhy (Cze) 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.