Somdev better than his rankings: MoyaJanuary 8th, 2009 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Jan 8 (IANS) Somdev Devvarman plays the way he looks - a warrior, complete with headband and all - and one who simply refuses to give in no matter who the opponent or what the match situation is. For sure, Carlos Moya will readily testify to all these attributes.In the searing mid-day heat Thursday, Devvarman, only 23 and ranked 202, delivered a stunning 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, defeat to Moya, the former World No.1, French Open champion and twice winner here at the Chennai Open, and entered the quarter-finals of the $450,000 ATP tournament.
In the process, Devvarman, who completed his schooling here, made a strong statement that he would be the Indian player to watch out for in 2009.
Moya, ever graceful in defeat, was so impressed with Devvarman’s game that he proclaimed: “He is better than his ranking. He has a solid game and is not a typical serve-and-volley player. I think, he has the potential to break into top 100 and even top 50.”
Moya was literally sent reeling to the deck by Devvarman’s ceaseless onslaughts, and the Spaniard admitted as much.
Devvarman enjoyed a spectacular 2008. He started the year at 1036 and reached a high of 201 before finishing the season at 202, while getting past his more established compatriots Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna in ATP rankings.
His best result was the quarter-finals at Washington as a qualifier and attributed his improvement to his serve which he has been working hard on.
“You guys (the Indian Media) keep saying serve is my weak point, and hopefully, you will write otherwise now,” he said with a mischievous smile.
Beneath the humour, the steel was evident. The young man is obviously not given to any hyperbole despite his rise through the rankings.
Looking ahead to the new season, Devvarman said: “For sure I am going to lose matches, but I am never going to quit.
He likened himself to a counter-punching boxer while reflecting on his win over Moya. “I began to counter-punch. That’s my style. I guess, I am more a counter-puncher than a puncher!”
Devvarman is up against the fourth seeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-finals Friday, and he will need all the brawn and brain to overcome the 25th ranked opponent.
“I will treat it as just another match,” was all he would say on his prospects of equalling the feat of Leander Paes who was a semi-finalist in 1998.