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Somdev ready for the Australian Open

Raakesh Natraj
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WATCHING CLOSELY: The Hawk Eye system in action at the Aircel Chennai Open . — PHOTO: M. VEDHAN
WATCHING CLOSELY: The Hawk Eye system in action at the Aircel Chennai Open . — PHOTO: M. VEDHAN

Somdev Devvarman, who said after his first round loss here that he needed to “work on everything —serves, first and second, returns, forehands, inside-outers, backhands, volleys, everything” will have about ten days to tinker with said aspects.

The Australian Open starts on January 17 and news trickled in that Somdev will receive a wild card into the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the year.

“I was taken aback when I heard this news. Perhaps, this is the element of luck I needed at the start of the year. I'm ready to meet the challenge and make amends for the first-round loss here. I'm hopeful of a good show,” Somdev said.

“Certainly good news, but it has its own pluses and negatives, because he will be going straightway into the tournament. Had he gone through the qualification rounds, he could have been in a better physical condition and could have match fitness” said Ramesh Krishnan, as Somdev will attempt to have his piece of pastry and eat it too.

Miserable success rate

Richard Gasquet, who was finally shunted up to the stadium court for his second round clash with Bjorn Phau, had his first brush with the ‘eye in the sky' at the Chennai Open. The players seem to be feeling their way around Hawk Eye technology, which is making its debut here. Day one saw 15 challenges in four matches while 12 calls were referred on day two.

A total of twelve calls were challenged, six by either player. Phau won two of his six challenges while Gasquet could get only one of six calls over-ruled.

Of 52 referrals (after 12 matches) by the players, only 19 were reversed, for a miserable success rate of 36.5 per cent. The umpires are winning that round then.

Unexpected

Janko Tipsarevic, an integral part of the victorious Serbian Davis Cup team, on the mid-court shearing, after the win over France in the final: “It was a stupid thing. At the start of the year, I do not know which tournament, one of the guys before even the Davis Cup started, said if we win it, everybody should shave, including the president of the federation, the secretary and all the people involved, around 50 of us had to do it (shave their heads). At that time everybody said ‘yeah, ok lets do it' because it was a long way of, you know.”

India is slated to meet Serbia in its first round World Group tie (away) and could do with some scalping of its own.

“Nikola Milojevic, remember the name” — Tipsarevic on the up and coming talent from Serbia.

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