Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri remained on course for a title showdown by reaching the men’s singles semifinals of the Delhi Open even as it was curtains for Saketh Myneni,today.
Somdev, country’s top singles player, blunted a spirited challenge from Sanam Singh as he eked out a 4-6 6-1 6-3 win in his quarterfinal while Yuki was far from convincing in his 7-6 (3) 6-3 win over seventh seed Radu Albot from Moldova.
Myneni could not play to his potential in today’s contest against Belgium’s Kimmer Coppejans, losing his last-eight clash 4-6 3-6.
Somdev will take on 21-year-old Coppejans while Yuki is now up against Belgium’s left-hander Ruben Bemelmans, who overcame sixth seed Australian Luke Saville 6-4 6-4 in the USD 100,000 ATP Challenger.
Sanam, who had knocked out the top seed, came out firing on all cylinders against his compatriot as he stunned Somdev with some breathtaking backhand winners in the opening set.
As Somdev prefers to remain on the baseline, Sanam tried to take advantage of that by using the drop shots more often but also lost points when he erred in execution.
He broke Somdev in the first game of the match with a volley winner on the second breakpoint. Somdev got the break back when Sanam hit a forehand long in the sixth game. However, he allowed Sanam to yet again get the lead with his unforced errors.
Sanam hit another volley winner to earn a breakpoint in the seventh game and converted it with a forehand winner. The lead stayed with Sanam and he served out the set in the 10th game.
Somdev, who is defending a lot of points being a winner here last year, shifted gears and cut down on errors and started to serve much better. He broke Sanam in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, putting his doubles partner in the past under pressure. Sanam started to feel the heat as Somdev lost only four points on his serve in the entire second set.
Sanam wilted and that affected his strokemaking as he was not making lot of unforced errors. He seemed to have given up mentally as Somdev raced to a 4-2 lead with a break of serve in the fifth game.
The Chandigarh lad lacked temperament and was eventually overcome by unforced errors.
He even broke his racquet after losing a point in the seventh game. Serving to stay in the match, Sanam hit a backhand long to give Somdev two match points and the defending champion converted the second with a forehand winner.
“It was a very tough match. Sanam is such a talent who can attack from both sides. He has no weakness. I knew once I have the lead I can open it up,” Somdev said.