Somdev, Bopanna beaten at Leg Mason Tennis Classic

August 5th, 2011 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Somdev Devvarman Washington, Aug 5 (IANS) India’s Somdev Devvarman stretched seventh seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus before going down in three sets in his second-round match while his countryman Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisamul Haq Qureshi lost in the doubles at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic here.

Somdev, ranked 65 on the ATP charts, lost Thursday 2-6, 6-0, 5-7, his second defeat in three meetings against the World No.26 who was beaten by the Indian when the two met last at Atlanta in March.

Bopanna and Qureshi were beaten in the first round by veteran Mark Knowles from Bahamas and his Belgian partner Xavier Malisse, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (6), 3-10. The fourth-seeded Indo-Pakistani pair lost the match despite a better all-round showing, their drawback being the inability to win more points on their opponents’ second service.

Baghdatis, 26, was back on court later in the evening after his two-hour tussle with Somdev and beat Brazilian Thomkaz Belucci 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on his way to quarterfinals. Belucci had earlier knocked out former World No. 2 Tommy Haas 7-6(7-3), 3-6, 6-3.

Baghdatis next plays the surprise of the tournament Donald Young, the American youngster who knocked out the experienced compatriot Michael Russell, 6-3, 6-3, in the third round.

Somdev, who has had a decent year having clashed with some of the top guns on the circuit including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and playing all the three Grand Slam events, lost the match at 5-5 in the deciding set when he dropped his serve to leave the Baghdatis to serve out the match.

What stunned the spectators was the way the Indian fought back after dropping the first set to blank the Cypriot in the second.

Somdev, who is seen more a hometown boy here as he was a student at the University of Virginia, was quoted by the Washington Times as terming his encounter with Baghdatis a “dogfight” which could have gone either way. “But I think he just played better than me at the end to win.”

Somdev is a star here, having created tennis history at the university by becoming only the fourth player in the past 50 years to win back-to-back national collegiate championship in 2007-8.

The champion Indian, who recently moved his base to Austin, Texas, after residing in Charlottesville, was a quarterfinalist here in his first year as a pro in 2008.

“Whenever I’m here, I have a lot of friends come out here. Half of my classmates live in Georgetown, so it’s fun for me to have them come out and maybe catch up with them later in the week,” he said.

“I really enjoy playing over here, and it’s fun to see my old coaches and teammates,” said the 26-year-old.

He says his first serve has got stronger over the years and he is now concentrating on another aspect of his game.

“If I can just use my athleticism to become a little bit more aggressive, I think that’ll help me a lot in the future,” he said.

Though disappointed at the missed opportunity, Somdev said there were a lot of positives developing for him in the run-up to the US Open later this month.

“I’m striking the ball pretty well, I’m competing well, serving well,” he said. “I’m not going to be an easy guy to beat in the next few tournaments and if I play well, I’m going to give myself plenty of chances to win some matches.”

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