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Chennai Open: Indian challenge ends in singles

January 04, 2011 23:34 IST

The Indian challenge in the men's singles at the Chennai Open came to an end on Tuesday when home favourite Somdev Devvarman was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Belgian qualifier David Goffin. 

Earlier in the day, India's two other entries in the singles -- Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri (both wild cards) suffered similar fate.

While third seed and last year's beaten finalist Stanislas Wawrinka proved too good for Bopanna, winning 6-4, 6-4, Yuki was thrashed 2-6, 1-6 by Russian qualifier Alexandre Kudryavtsev.

However, it was Somdev's shock defeat that came across as the biggest disappointment of the day for the home fans. 

The 25-year-old, a finalist here in 2009 and coming on the back of successive gold medals triumphs at the Commonwealth Games (New Delhi) and the Asian Games (Guangzhou), was expected to have a longer run, let alone lose to a qualifier. 

Goffin though had other plans though. Having come through three tough qualifying rounds, the 20-year-old carried forward that momentum to race to a 4-0 lead, breaking Somdev twice (in the first and third games) in the process. 

Somdev recovered a bit in the second set. But before he could assert his authority, Goffin broke again (in the seventh game). And that proved to be enough.

The loss meant Somdev's campaign at the tournament this year had a premature end. He, along with Sanam Singh, had lost in the doubles a day earlier. 

"I was a little shaky, little nervous going out there and from the first point things were not going in my favour," reasoned Somdev later.

It was sweet success for Goffin though. For the Belgian was playing in his first tour match.

"The credit goes to him," admitted Somdev, adding, "He played well and really unsettled me from the beginning."

Earlier, a break in each set was enough for Wawrinka against Bopanna. The result was a rehash of what had happened in the same stage here last year. 

The Indian couldn't put any pressure on the Swiss player's serve whatsoever. The only problem Wawrinka had while serving was pertaining to double faults - he served five. Only Bopanna didn't take advantage of those free points.

Meanwhile, in the day's opening match, qualifier Kudryavtsev tore apart Yuki, winning in less than an hour. 

With the Indian interest in men's singles failing to cross the first hurdle, the home fans now have to look forward to doubles for better results from their favourite players.

And it will be up to the likes of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi to meet those expectations.

Bikash Mohapatra in Chennai