Chennai Open: Somdev crashes out

The 18-year-old wild card entrant, Andrey Rublev, subdued Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and set up a date with top seed Stanislas Wawrinka.

Somdev Devvarman in action at the Chennai Open on Tuesday.   -  M. Prabhu

Andrey Rublev received a wildcard for the Chennai Open tournament.   -  M. Prabhu

Despite generous encouragement from the crowd and a brief glimpse of revival, Somdev Devvarman came up short against his more attacking and risk-taking opponent, Andrey Rublev.

Gesticulating animatedly at his own mistakes and repeatedly attempting winners down the line, Rublev looked hungry to get the win, with an effort to hit serves and winners as hard as he could.

Somdev kept himself in the hunt till the end, but his stroke-making looked weaker. In the second set, he benefitted from playing a stable game as Rublev frustratingly suffered a break to lose the set. However, in the end the Russian subdued Somdev for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win.

> Scorecentre

Rublev, the 18-year old who received a wildcard for this tournament, looked scratchy in the beginning as the more composed Somdev broke him in the very first game of the match.

At the time, Somdev looked at ease facing Rublev’s aggressive shots. However, later it was evident Roblev was showing an urgency to win points: a few drop shots were poorly executed, but a couple of others helped him steal points.

Somdev later acknowledged the spark from the teenager. “He’s one of the bright stars of the future.”

Rublev shone through in the latter half of the first set; his sharpness lifted as his forehand and backhand winners sizzled down the lines in the court.

Somdev participated in the rallies but lost often as Rublev made him dance around the court to make him retrieve. His perfectly played rally was similar to the routine of a forehand to the right of the court, a backhand to the left of the court, and a winner down the middle. The anomaly was a flurry of enforced errors in the second set in the pursuit of winners, which gave Somdev a crucial break to take the contest to the third set.

Rublev’s intent continued through to the third set, and although Somdev seemed to gain some confidence in front of a cheering crowd, he suffered a crucial break, and that took the match away from his grasp. A double-fault from Somdev, and a couple of crisp winners from his opponent in that game had cost him.

A brief glimpse at a comeback at 3-5 down was cut short with clean and powerful serves from Rublev, who recognised the value of what he had achieved: “I’m really happy to win a tough match against a good player.”

That was he was in his zone when playing his strong winners was encapsulated when he summed it up as, “I don’t know, I was just trying to play my tennis.”

Somdev was not overly hurt with the loss, as he felt he was in a comfortable space with regards to his game. “There weren’t any big holes [with my game],” he observed, after the match. “I feel I know where I am, I hope I’ll have a better year.”

The difference between a win and a loss in this contest, according to him were due to a few ‘mental errors’, and a general flatness.

“I didn’t execute [my shots], didn’t move my feet. Little sharpness was missing.”

Rublev is scheduled to play the top seed Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday, but regardless of what happens there, the evidence of today suggests an inevitable rise for him in the tennis pecking order soon.

WEDNESDAY’S ORDER OF PLAY

STADIUM COURT (5 p.m.)

Borna Coric vs Austin Krajicek

Stan Wawrinka vs Andrey Rublev

John Millman vs Roberto Bautista-Agut

COURT 1 (5 p.m.)

N. Sriram Balaji / Ramkumar Ramanathan vs M. Daniell / A. Sitak

Ante Pavic vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

S. Devvarman / J. Nedunchezhiyan vs N. Monroe / H. Podlipnik-Castillo

COURT 2 (6 p.m.)

O. Marach / F. Martin vs A. Bedene / T. Huey

A. Krajicek / B. Paire vs S. Betov / M. Elgin