India’s number one tennis player Somdev Devvarman successfully defended his New Delhi Challenger title after coming back from a set and break down to defeat compatriot Yuki Bhambri 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. The win marks the end of a long title drought for Somdev whose last title at challenger level also came right here in New Delhi last year.
The doubles title was won by Egor Gerasimov and Alexander Kudryavtsev who beat the pair of Riccardo Ghedin and Toshihide Matsui 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-6 in the final.
Yuki fails to build on a bright start
It was Yuki Bhambri who made the brighter start. The world number 414 had shown sizzling form this week to account for three top-150 players. The 22-year-old Delhi lad brought that confidence into the final as he broke Somdev Devvarman in the seventh game courtesy a wide backhand from the defending champion. Yuki clinched the first set 6-3 after breaking Somdev for a second time thanks to a stunning forehand winner after a long rally.
It all seemed lost for the 30-year-old Somdev when he went down 0-2 in the second set as well. But unforced errors have been the bane of Yuki’s performance throughout the week and they came to haunt him once again in the final.
The set was back on serve in the very next game as Somdev broke back and then broke once again in the seventh game to take the lead. As Yuki Bhambri’s game fell apart, the 153rd-ranked Somdev Devvarman served out the second set 6-4.
The third set was absolutely one-way traffic as Yuki Bhambri could not find a way to come back into the match. Somdev Devvarman closed out the match with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory in 1 hour and 53 minutes.
Somdev Devvarman quotes:
“Maybe this is the turning point for me. I am not playing my best tennis. My friend and idol Andy Roddick told me that players win when they play their best but when you manage to win when you are not playing your best, it tells a lot about the player.”
Yuki Bhambri quotes:
“Normally you end up winning the title if you do that. But making the final feels good and I feel there is improvement in my game.”
The ATP Challenger Tour now moves on to Kolkata which has an equally exciting field that includes Somdev, Yuki as well as Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan and N Sriram Balaji amongst the Indian players. It will be interesting to see how Somdev and Yuki fare after their confidence-boosting performances in New Delhi.