Somdev reaches Chennai Open final, to play Marin Cilic (Lead)

January 10th, 2009 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 10 (IANS) India’s Somdev Devvarman entered the final of the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament without hitting a ball and will take on third seeded Marin Cilic who Saturday outclassed Marcel Granollers (Germany) 6-4, 6-3.Wild card entry Devvarman’s scheduled semi-final opponent, fifth seeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany, withdrew citing a wrist injury.

Devvarman thus became the first Indian to reach the final of ATP Chennai Open.

In an official statement, the 32-year old Schuettler, a Wimbledon semi-finalist and ranked 33, said: “During yesterday’s doubles match, I started feeling pain in my left wrist. As I warmed up for the semi-final, I wasn’t able to hit a double-handed backhand. I felt a strong pain.

“I would only be able to slice and I am also afraid that the injury would get worse. I had the same (injury) a few years ago, it was not as bad.

“I also have to pull out of Sydney (ATP tournament). I will now fly to Melbourne and see if I can be ready in time for the Australian Open. I feel sorry for the crowd and the tournament. It is a very disappointing moment for me.”

The other semi-final between Cilic and Granollers provided little cheer for the capacity crowd that was hoping to see Devvarman continue with his giant-killing act. The 23-year old Indian defeated two seeded players, Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic, en route to the semi-final.

It was a near-flawless exhibition from the 20-year old Cilic, a semi-finalist here last year when he lost to eventual winner Mikhail Youzhny, and ranked 27. He repeatedly drilled winners with deep and powerful ground strokes while cranking up some huge serves.

In contrast, Granollers, ranked 55, was inconsistent and after initial fight when he kept pace with Cilic, his game crumbled.

The first went with serve until the ninth game when Cilic came up with two searing winners for two breakpoints. Granollers, 22, saved one with a service winner wide to Cilic’s backhand, but on the next point, netted a backhand return that hit the netchord and bounced out. Cilic then served out the set with a brilliant inside-out winner to Granollers’ backhand to go 1-0 after 37 minutes.

Cilic stepped up the pressure and broke Granollers in the third game of the second set for a 2-1 advantage with the German committing a couple of unforced backhand errors.

With Granollers repeatedly fumbling on his returns and his first serve going to pieces, Cilic broke again in the fifth to go 4-1 up.

Thereafter, it was a routine workout for Cilic and though he dropped serve in the eighth, the Croatian had built up sufficient. He broke back in the ninth to close the match.

It was Cilic’s second win against Granollers in as many meetings, the previous coming in the Paris Masters last year.

The results:
Singles (semi-finals): 3-Marin Cilic (CRO) bt 8-Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-4, 6-3; Somdev Devvarman (IND) w/o 5-Rainer Schuettler (GER).

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