Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Federer beats Somdev 6-3, 6-3
It's not everyday that an Indian tennis player takes on one of the all-time greats of the sport. So naturally Indian tennis fans were savouring when the draw for this week's Dubai Open was out and they learnt that Somdev Devvarman would be taking on none other than Roger Federer. The last time interest around a match was so high here was when Sania Mirza took on Serena Williams in the Australian Open six years ago. Not many were expecting Somdev to upset Roger but that didn't stop a billion people from hoping for a mircale.
The Centre Court was with Indian expats who account for a sizable portion of the local populaiton here and they were firmly behind the Indian. From the very start, it was evdient that this was going to be a tough night for Somdev. He needed 3 deuces to hold his first service game and came from 0-30 behind to hold his second while Federer breezed through his early service games. Devvarman, who needed a wild card to get into the tournament, double faulted down breakpoint at 2-3 to hand Federer the lead. One break was all Federer needed as he wrapped up the first set 6-3in 30 minutes.
In the second set, Devvarman saved 2 breakpoints to hold for 2-1 and had his only chance when he earned 2 breakpoints on the Swiss' serve. But Federer managed to escape and broke Somdev immediately in the next game as he went on to win the second set 6-3 as well.
Somdev certainly did not embarass himself againt the player widely regarded as the greatest ever to play the game. Interestingly,I thought he played more aggresively against Federer than he has against lower ranked opponents in his matches that I have seen in the past and he even won a fair amount of the points when he was playing agressively. That's certainly a good sign for Som, who should be using that same strategy against other players if he is to move further in the rankings. His ranking, currently at a career high #79, will likely drop to #97 after failing to defend his second round points from last year's event but the confidence and leanrings form his defeat today could help him evenntually go higher.