Somdev Devvarman battled his way through rain interruptions to notch up a hard-fought victory over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in a gruelling opening round match of the men’s singles competition at the US Open tennis. Also Read: Venus Williams knocked out
The 28-year-old rallied from a set down to win the next two when rain interrupted the match. The Indian,however,returned to complete the job as he emerged 4-6,6-1,6-2,4 6,6-4 victories in the match which lasted three hours and 11 minutes at Flushing Meadows last night. Also Read: Murray commences defence with dominant win
The world number 114 Indian will next take on Italian Andrea Seppi,ranked 20th,in the second round. Seppi beat Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse 6-3,3-6,7-5,7-5 in another men’s singles match.
Facing Lukas for the first time,Somdev tried to curb his unforced errors and rode on his better net play and breakpoint coversation rate to surpass the world number 84 Slovak. Also Read: Venus wows to come back
Somdev won 93 per cent of the net points compared to Lukas’s 63 per cent and also converted eight of the 12 break points that came his way.
He also committed just 36 unforced errors,while Slovak had double the number of unforced errors (73) in the match.
The Indian,who was laid low for more than a year after suffering a shoulder injury,won more than 50 per cent of points when serving at 30-30 or Deuce. Also Read: I’m definitely looking for a good close to the season,says Somdev
However,Lukas was way ahead when it came to hitting aces and winners. The Slovak hit 47 winners and 11 aces,compared to Somdev’s 30 and 5 respectively.
“I’m very happy with the way I played. It was an incredibly tough match,” Devvarman said after the match.
“I played a few great scramble points there in the fifth set at 4-4. I’m happy with that last bit of effort out there.”
Devvarman,who made his way through three qualifying matches,said he had better idea about the court as he was “match sharp”.
“Less time on the court is better but you do what you can to take advantage of what you have,” Devvarman said.
“I’m familiar with the speed of the courts. I’ve played a lot of matches.
“I’m match sharp. I hope I can take advantage of that in the next match. The only way I can improve is to fight through every match and I feel like I’ve done that,” he added.
However,the opening round match did turn out to be a frustrating affair for Somdev as it was stretched to an eight-hour affair following more than four hours of rain interruption.
“Bummer for me,momentum switch,” Devvarman said. “But you have to pull your pants up and deal with it. Just the nature of the beast,” Somdev said.
“I got two quarters of a meal at different times,” said Devvarman,who was forced to wait at the locker room during the rain.
“You just take a shower,eat and try to relax. You are in there with a bunch of your friends,playing games and the time passes pretty quickly.”
“Stopping and starting,it was a little unlucky to stop there,” he said.
“You can’t control the weather. It changed the momentum. He came out and played well,changed his tactics. He played a great fourth and fifth sets.”
Talking about the unforced errors which both of them committed in the match,Somdev said: “When you are playing in the fifth set,a lot of it is you play with adrenaline at that
point. I know both of us were dying at the end.
“I was pretty antsy and he was too. The nervous energy affected the both of us. We were just trying to do our best.”