Berdych ousts Somdev
By Ashok Venugopal | ENS | Published: 04th January 2013 11:17 AM |
The large crowd that had preferred to watch the second round match of the Aircel Chennai Open between top seed Tomas Berdych and Somdev Devvarman instead of the India vs Pakistan ODI on their television sets, went home disappointed as Somdev lost (3-6, 1-6) without a fight at the SDAT Tennis Stadium here on Thursday. The Czech lived up to his top billing with a clinical display of power tennis to book a spot in the last eight in 65 minutes. It was lacklustre performance from Somdev on his favourite stadium.
Even though he was making a comeback of sorts after an injury,the Indian looked out of sorts with his serves and returns being off target. In the initial part of the first set, Somdev looked good and even won some points on Berdych’s serve. The momentum shifted after Berdych broke Somdev in the fourth game. From that point, Somdev struggled to hold his serve, while Berdych kept winning points on the strength of his serve and returns. He disguised his returns to leave Somdev stranded often.
As the match went into the second set, Somdev became error-prone and missed easy volleys. It was a reflection of his current form. Berdych broke Somdev thrice in the second set; third, fifth and seventh games to win the set and match. The set lasting just 27 minutes. Two-time Chennai Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in an absorbing second-round match. Cilic, who is making his sixth appearance here, was a bit rusty playing his first match after getting a bye in the first round. In the first set, he was making mistakes except for a few splendid returns. He was also not consistent with his serves.
Stakhovsky got the better of Cilic in long rallies and pounded on his weak second serve to break the Croat in the seventh game and take a 4-3 lead. The Ukrainian held his serve twice to take the first set. Cilic’s loss to Kei Nishikori in the first round of the 2011 edition must have crossed his mind as one saw a different player in the remaining two sets. The Croat who had defeated Stakhovsky in their last two meetings realised the danger and started playing more aggressively. With an all-round game, Cilic broke Stakhovsky in the second and eighth games to make it one-set all. With the momentum shifting in favour of Cilic, Stakhovsky started making mistakes and double faulted at crucial junctures. Cilic broke Stakhovsky in the second game of the third set to take a 2-0 lead. He held on to his break and capitalised on opponents’ errors to cross the first hurdle.
Meanwhile, India’s Rohan Bopanna and his partner Rajeev Ram from the US lost against Stanislas Wawrinka and Benoit Paire in doubles quarters.