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Somdev rallies to qualify for Chennai Open main draw

January 03, 2016 20:36 IST

Somdev Devvarman plays a return

IMAGE: Somdev Devvarman plays a return. Photograph: PTI

Somdev Devvarman joined compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the singles main draw of the ATP Chennai Open with a come-from-behind victory over Briton James Ward in the final qualifying round in Chennai on Sunday.

Somdev, who struggled to go deep in the main draws on the ATP tour in 2015, beat Ward 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a battle that lasted just over 2 hours.

Ranked 177th, Somdev clawed his way back in the match after losing the first set, gathering strength and changing the tactics.

They were neck-and-neck in the second set before Somdev capitalised on a break of serve and never looked back. He raced to a 4-1 lead in the deciding third set and closed the match in his favour comfortably.

N Sriram Balaji made a stupendous effort in his final qualifying round but that was not enough as he lost 6-7 (2), 6-7(0) to Ante Pavic.

Later in the day, Saketh Myneni was also ousted from the qualifying event, losing his second round match 4-6, 2-6 to fifth seed Thomas Fabbiano.

Despite now having two platers in singles main draw, India's best hopes are in doubles with experienced Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi -- who is returning to Tour after a break -- in the mix.

In bottom half of the draw, Ramkumar has a tough task to go past Spanish journeyman Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ranked 98) and if he manages to cross the first hurdle he will be up against second seed and world number 12 Kevin Anderson.

He created a stir in the last season where he downed compatriot Devvarman in straight sets but Ramkumar needs a miracle of sorts if he has to progress in the tournament.

Bhupathi is partnering Gilles Muller (Lux) and they open their campaign against the top seeded pair of Raven Klaasen (RSA) and Rajeev Ram (USA), while second seeds Paes and Marcel Granollers of Spain would be tested by former Olympic gold medallist Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

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