Home Sports Somdev beats fellow-qualifier in Legg Mason first round

Somdev beats fellow-qualifier in Legg Mason first round


Washington : India’s Somdev Devvarman is through to the second round in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, beating fellow qualifier Yuichi Sugita 6-0, 7-6 (6).

Qualifying for the second successive Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour event, Somdev breezed through the first set against the 255th-ranked Japanese Tour debutant, but encountered a tenacious Sugita in the second.

Sugita forced a tie-break which the Indian clinched 8-6 Monday.

Playing in a tough field, Somdev next takes on sixth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic who got a first-round bye.

“I’m looking forward to play him (Cilic) again,” said Somdev, who lost to the Croat in the final of Chennai Open January.

Somdev has his best year ever in 2009. The Indian made the final in Chennai and he has been successful in a number of Challenger events. Somdev was ranked as high as 127 in the world back in July, but he has since slipped back to 153.

“I feel I am a better player than last year with more experience of playing under adversity. It’s about going through the ups and downs and learning from that. ”

“I think I am just physically a lot stronger. I’m playing higher percentage tennis. That is helping me make gains.”

Cilic, ranked 15th, holds an impressive 31-11 match record on the year. His ranking sits at 15 in the world.

Reflecting on the match, Somdev said: “I let him comeback into the match but credit goes to him for fighting back and giving himself a good chance for a third set.”

Unseeded Australian Lleyton Hewitt, playing his first match since Wimbledon, advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 6-2 win over American wild card Donald Young in a match that featured nine breaks of serve.

Hewitt said that he was happy to make a winning start to his U.S. Open Series campaign at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament. Hewitt, who is No. 42 in the ATP rankings, has a chance to press his claim for a top-20 spot this summer after missing the entire US hard court swing last year following a hip surgery.

Russian Mikhail Youzhny won on his Washington debut as he defeated American Robert Kendrick 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, while Yen-hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei battled past American wild card Michael Russell 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to set up a second-round clash with defending champion and No. 2 seed Juan Martin del Potro.

In another first-round match, German Phillip Petzschner rallied past Russia’s Teimuraz Gabashvilli 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.