The odds were heavily stacked against India’s wildcard Somdev Devvarman as he was up against a real giant. Standing up to World No 6 and top-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych was no easy task. But in doing so in the Chennai Open here, he won hearts despite the 6-3 6-1 loss.
Devvarman put up a reasonable fight in the first set; Berdych broke the Indian just once in the fourth game. Maybe, less unforced errors could have given him a better chance, something he admitted in the post-match press conference.
The second set proved to be a nightmare, with Berdych breaking Devvarman thrice before wrapping up the match and booking his place in the quarterfinals.
Earlier, third-seeded Croat Marin Cilic beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6 6-2 6-3 to enter the last eight. The lanky Cilic, as it is known, can generate tremendous amount of power in his strokes. Still, Stakhovsky did well to make a match of it in the first set. Down 3-5, Cilic, the World No 15, tried to claw his way back but just couldn’t. After breaking Cilic’s serve in the seventh game, Stakhovsky served out the set.
Always looking calm and composed, Cilic was back in the second set with a vengeance. With breaks in the second and eighth games, it was not too difficult for the Croat to take the second set 6-2. It was a similar story in the decider. Cilic broke his rival’s serve in the second game and from then on both held their serves. Cilic served out the match with two powerful aces and booked a quarterfinal berth.
Fifth-seeded Benoit Paire (France) and Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut also entered the quarterfinals.
Results (prefix denotes seeding): Singles (second round): 3-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) 4-6 6-2 6-3; 1-Tomas Berdych (Cze) vs Somdev Devvarman (Ind) 6-3 6-1; 5-Benoit Paire (Fra) bt Dudi Sela (Isr) 6-1 6-0; Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp) bt Matthias Bachinger (Ger) 7-6 (4) 6-3; Wednesday’s result (second round): 4-Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (Ger) 6-4 6-3; Doubles (quarterfinals): Andre Begemann/ Martin Emmrich (Ger) bt Aljaz Bedene/ Blaz Kavcic (Slo) 7-6 (1) 6-1; Benoit Paire (Fra)/ Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt 3-Rohan Bopanna (Ind)/ Rajeev Ram (USA) 0-6 6-4 10-1; Wednesday’s results (first round): 3-Rohan Bopanna (Ind)/ Rajeev Ram (USA) bt Yen-Hsun Lu (Tpe)/ Go Soeda (Jpn) 6-4 6-3; 1-Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind)/ Daniel Nestor (Can) bt Sriram Balaji/ Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Ind) 6-3 6-0