Somdev falls as India’s singles challenge ends

first_imgQualifier David Goffin from Belgium lowered Indian superstar Somdev Devvarman into the coffin as he posted a stunning 6- 2, 6- 4 first round win in the Chennai Open on Tuesday.With crowds filling the stadium and rooting for Somdev, fans hoped for a miracle.Runner- up in 2009 at the Chennai Open and second round loser in 2010, Somdev could not reproduce the magic which he has shown in the recent past. India’s singles challenge ended with Somdev’s loss.They say the first event of the year is always a tricky one. Somdev realised it as he was unable to come up with the big shots. As one who had become the toast of the nation after his efforts in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, this was a night of deep disappointment.To his credit, Goffin, just 20, soaked in the atmosphere and finally won when Somdev hit a forehand long. Overall, the way Goffin served and churned out the groundstrokes, there was no doubt he deserved to win.People will talk of Somdev loving the ambience, but his inability to string together big points made for bad viewing on Tuesday.” I am very disappointed with the result. Hopefully, the season will get better for me,” Somdev said at the press conference.” I was hitting very well in practice.That obviously doesn’t count when you are playing a match. I do not want to make any excuses but I can tell you it was a bad day. I am not going to kill myself over it,” added Somdev, with a laugh.advertisementTitle favourite Tomas Berdych came out all guns blazing as he demolished Frederico Gil of Portugal 6- 0, 6- 1 in the first round.After Kei Nishikori dumped second seed Marin Cilic on the first day, no one wanted another shocker.Berdych, who is playing here for the first time, treated the audience to top quality tennis and was aggressive to the point of being ruthless.It could have been a total rout had not Gil, ranked 101, won a game after being down 0- 5. ” It is important to start well in the new season and I am happy I was able to do that tonight,” said 25- yearold Berdych. He next faces Ivan Dodig of Croatia.From the Indian point of view, there was mixed news with Yuki Bhambri losing. However, Rohan Bopanna, who plays singles rarely, showed once again he can trouble the big players as he By S. Kannan in Chennai played his heart out before losing 4- 6, 4- 6 to third seed Stanislas Wawrinka.The more one sees Wawrinka, the more one is certain that the Swiss player will never give the opponent a free point. On Tuesday, Rohan, playing on the same court where he won the Davis Cup tie for India against Brazil in September, played as well as he could.Lack of singles play was evident, but the tall and strapping Coorgi tried hard with his serve against a top class singles player.The scoreline may suggest it was a routine match, but Bopanna put his heart and soul into it.Where the Indian came short was when he made some loose sorties to the net and got passed or when Wawrinka was ripping some incredible forehand drives.One such shot came in the eighth game of the second set when the Swiss faced a break point. Wawrinka hit a full blooded forehand cross- court pile driver which had a touch of class.” It was not an easy match tonight. After losing in doubles, I was keen to do well in singles. I was playing Bopanna in front of his home crowd and I couldn’t take it easy,” said Wawrinka.Fourth- seed Richard Gasquet of France, ranked 30th in the world, ousted compatriot Edouard Roger- Vasselin 6- 1, 6- 3 to reach the second round. The Frenchman next plays Bjorn Phau of Germany for a place in the quarter- finals.Seventh- seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium, who won the Chennai event in 2007, outplayed Marsel Ilhan of Turkey 6- 3, 6- 1 in another match.last_img

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