US Open: Somdev takes positives from US Open loss (Lead)

September 4th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Somdev Devvarman New York, Sep 4 (IANS) Somdev Devvarman’s run at the US Open might have ended, but the Indian is only drawing positives from his second round appearance.
Somdev’s Grand Slam singles debut ended with a 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 2-6 loss to 23rd-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber at Flushing Meadows Thursday.

“I take a lot of positives from this US Open campaign and I hope to build on this performance,” said Somdev, ranked 162.

It was Somdev’s first Grand Slam singles appearance in four attempts. The 24-year-old has now set his eyes on India’s Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against South Africa in Johannesburg later this month.

“Now my focus is solely on Davis Cup. It’s a big tie for us and nothing will be better than winning it for India and taking us to the World Group.”

Somdev, winner of back-to-back US collegiate titles, told the Indian media over e-mail that the experience of playing at this level will put him in good stead.

“It will give me great confidence for the future,” he said.

“Qualifying for the US Open was a great breakthrough for me and then to win a match here, it will help me get better and move up in the rankings. I will have to take the right steps, work harder and get stronger from here.”

Somdev had cleared three qualifying rounds to enter the main draw of US Open. He had a comfortable first-round victory against 110th ranked Portuguese Fredrico Gil.

But Kohlschreiber was a much tougher and more experienced opponent. The German has been in good form this season, having shocked World No 4 Novak Djokovic in the French Open and taking a set off Roger Federer in Wimbledon third round.

The 24-year-old Indian, however, had his chances against Kohlschreiber. Somdev had 20 break point opportunities in the match, but could convert only four. Three of his breaks came in the third set when he blanked Kohlschreiber.

“I took a set off Philipp and had some chances against him. I played a good match today, though I feel I could have played a lot better. Phillip really came up with some clutch plays when things got close.”

Kohlschreiber broke Somdev twice in the first set even as the Indian wasted four of his five break point chances.

The German took the second set with a break of serve before Somdev came out firing and raced through the third set in just 29 minutes.

Kohlschreiber used all his experience to recover from the setback and wrap up the match in the next set, breaking Somdev twice.

However, there was good news for India in doubles. Sania Mirza progressed to the second round in women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Also clearing the first round hurdle, were Mahesh Bhupathi in men’s doubles and Leander Paes in mixed doubles.

After being blanked out by Italian Flavia Pennetta in singles second round, Sania, playing with Francesca Schiavone of Italy in doubles was in a spot of bother before winning her match against Belarussian Ekaterina Dzehalevich and Czech Renata Voracova.

But Sania and Schiavone, seeded 14th, rallied from a set down to beat Dzehalevich and Voracova 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 in an encounter that lasted two hours and 19 minutes.

Sania then turned up for the mixed doubles event on the same court with her new partner Daniel Nestor of Canada and the pair took just 40 minutes to dispatch Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan and Australian Ashley Fisher 6-3, 6-1.

It was not so easy for Paes and Cara Black of Zimbabwe in their first mixed doubles match. The second seeded pair were stretched by Patty Schnyder of Switzerland and Wesley Moodie of South Africa before they survived 6-4, 3-6, 11-9 in 70 minutes.

Paes and Black will face Itallian Flavia Pennetta and Serbian Dusan Vemic in the second round.

In men’s doubles third seed Bhupathi and Mark Knowles of Bahamas coasted to a 6-3, 6-4 win over James Cerretani of the US and Lovro Zovko of Croatia. They will next meet American pair Jesse Levine and Ryan Sweeting.

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