Somdev Devvarman ends singles title drought with Challenger

In the final, Somdev Devvarman beat Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazhakhstan 6-3, 6-1 in less than an hour.

New Delhi | Updated: February 24, 2014 10:09:43 am


Somdev Devvarman held serve to claim the title, winning the final point in characteristic fashion (PTI) Somdev Devvarman held serve to claim the title, winning the final point in characteristic fashion (PTI)

Somdev Devvarman won his first singles title in more than three years after breezing past Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Delhi Open Challenger on Sunday. As the scoreline would suggest, Devvarman dominated on most counts, but the Indian also benefitted from Nedovyesov’s capitulation. 

Top seeded Kazhak player completely lost his rhythm midway through the first set to concede eight games in a row, later admitting that he had come into the final fatigued and with an injury bothering him.

Though Nedovyesov was going through the motions at the end, he started the brighter of the two in the opening games of the final. The first two service games saw Nedovyesov hit a forehand cross court winner, an inside-out forehand winner, a backhand down the line winner and three drop shots that even Devvarman could not get near. Devvarman could not take a single point of Nedovyesov’s serve in this period but managed to hold from his end without too much bother. The players split the first six games.

Devvarman relied mostly on the placement of his serve and on moving Nedovyesov from side to side, hoping to draw an error or open up the court. This is Devvarman’s usual strategy and, of course, would not have come as a surprise to Nedovyesov. The Kazakh, on the other hand, won most of his points through aggressive ground strokes, finding depth and power.

If that was how the players were lined up, then it is not difficult to see (at least retrospectively) who was going to falter first. If the Kazakh continued to reel off winners at the rate at which he was doing in the early part of the game, then it appeared there would be little Devvarman could do. But, it was a high risk strategy and when Nedovyesov’s consistency and hitting levels dropped, he was in trouble as Devvarman was happy to put everything back.

Flawless serving

To make things worse for the Kazakh, Devvarman would enjoy one of his best serving days of the tournament in the final, losing just ten points on serve all match. In the seventh game of the first set, it began to unravel for Nedovyesov.

Nedovyesov tried the drop shot for about the fifth time in the game but this time Devvarman was able to run it down and dispatch it for a winner to get a look in at 15-30. A forehand winner on the next point gave Devvarman his first break point of the match.

Nedovyesov seemed in control of the next point and just as he was presented with an open court, rushed his forehand and put it into the net. Devvarman consolidated with crisp serving, sending down three service winners to move 5-3 up.

Around this time, Nedovyesov’s ground strokes began to desert him and his challenge began to fall apart pretty quickly. It may have been injury or just tiredness — he has played several three-setters here in the lead up to the final — but Nedovyesov just could not string two shots together. He was broken once more as Devvarman took the first set 6-3.

The Indian second-seed did not get his foot off the pedal and ran up a 5-0 lead in the second as Nedovyesov lost eight games in a row. Nedovyesov finally snapped out of his funk in the sixth game, closing it out with an ace, but Devvarman was too far ahead by this point.

Just as the lights came flickering on at the RK Khanna stadium, Devvarman held serve to claim the title, winning the final point in characteristic fashion. Devvarman was scampering to keep the ball in play and was perhaps out of position, but Nedovyesov pulled his attempted winner long to put an end to his misery. The final had lasted under an hour.

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