Somdev shocks Moya to enter Chennai Open quarters

January 8th, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 8 (IANS) India’s No.1 Somdev Devvarman authored the best win of his blossoming career when he defeated sixth seed and former World No.1 Carlos Moya of Spain 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, to enter the quarter-finals of the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament, here Thursday.Devvarman’s performance is the best by an Indian here since Leander Paes reached the semi-finals in the 1998 edition when he lost to top seed and eventual winner Pat Rafter.

Devvarman next meets fourth seeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic who earlier beat Ivo Minar of Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-4.

In the other quarter-final matches to be played Friday , Czech Lukas Dlouhy , who received a walk-over from top seed Nikolay Devydenko, meets eighth seed Marcel Granollers of Germany, third seed Croat Marin Cilic faces seventh seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and Bjorn Phau of Germany takes on fifth seed compatriot Rainer Schuettler.

The 23-year old Devvarman displayed tremendous retrieving and staying power to oust Moya, the 1999 French Open champion and twice winner of the Chennai Open.

Devvarman, currently based in Virginia, USA and ranked 202, matched his more experienced opponent stroke for stroke even as the mid-day heat seemed to get at the 32-year old Spaniard , whose best days are clearly behind him.

The 42nd ranked Moya showed only glimpses of his class while Devvarman, a quarter-finalist at the Washington tournament last year as a qualifier, went for his shots, finding the corners and the sidelines with unerring accuracy.

Moya took a see-saw first set as the two traded breaks before the Spaniard broke a second time in the tenth for a 1-0 lead.

However, Devvarman warmed up to the task and struck back with a break in the 11th game to go 6-5 up and then served out the second set to level scores.

In the decider, Moya had his chances, but squandered six breakpoints in the second game before dropping serve in the third. Devvarman could have wrapped up the match much earlier, but he blew a match point in the ninth before winning the tenth game to emerge a convincing winner.

“I didn’t get broken in the second and third sets and that I feel was the key,” said Devvarman after the match. “I was intimidated by Moya initially, but after a few games, I started to believe in myself. Later, I knew he was under pressure and I became more confident.”

He felt the turning point of the match came in the first game of the third set when he saved six game points.

“I was down 0-40 and I came up with the goods by saving six game points. Yes, that was the turning point,” he said.

On his part, Moya said he was not surprised by Devvarman’s performance. He shrugged off his defeat saying it was just the first tournament of the season.

“I saw him a couple of days ago. He is very solid from the baseline and does not play a typical Indian game like serve and volley. No, I was not surprised at all. He has the potential to make it to top 100 and even top 50. He is better than his ranking,” said Moya while admitting that the heat was a factor but not an excuse.

“I was feeling very tired at the start of the third set, especially after I did not convert six breakpoints. I took some risks and made mistakes,” he added.

The results (2nd round):
Singles: Somdev Devvarman (IND) bt Carlos Moya (ESP) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; Ivo Karlovic (CRO) bt Ivo Minar (CZE) 6-4, 6-1; 3-Marin Cilic (CRO) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-0, 6-4; 5-Rainer Schuettler (GER) bt Simon Greul (GER) 6-4, 6-2; 8-Marcel Granollers (ESP) bt Andreas Beck (GER) 6-4, 6-1; Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 7-6 (3), 6-4; Bjorn Phau (GER) bt Flavio Cipolla (ITA) 6-1, 6-2.

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