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Somdev slips in semis

Saketh Myneni (left) and Sanam Singh after winning the doubles title, on Friday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: There couldn’t be any complaint whatsoever about the start Somdev Dev Varman got off to.

But as the game progressed, his performance dipped, which enabled his opponent, third seed Evgeny Donskoy, to make rapid strides after a disappointing first set.

Eventually, Donskoy won the semi-final tie 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the final of the State Bank of India ATP Challenger, here, at the BTA complex, on Friday.

The Russian’s opponent in Saturday’s final will be Serb Ilija Bozoljac, who staged a remarkable comeback to upset top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.

It also appeared hopeless for Donskoy as Somdev had most things under control at the start. Breaking Donskoy’s serve as early as in the second game of the match, Somdev just focused on getting the basics right and won the first set with relative ease.

But just as he lost his serve in the fourth game of the second set, Somdev began to stumble. Riding a strong forehand, Donskoy won the crucial points that saw him through in the second set.

Prevailing in the tough situation, the momentum was with Donskoy and he never looked back from thereon. Breaking Somdev twice in the deciding set, he unleashed a superb return to wrap up the contest.

“I didn’t serve well in the second and third sets… Was always behind after the first set. Also, I should have exerted more when we were locked 4-4 and 5-5 in the second set,” Somdev said later.

The star of the day, though, was the unseeded Bozoljac. If a player is down 0-6, 0-3, it’s helplessness that he has to battle apart from the humiliation of not being able to win even one game out of nine.

The 10 th game was the first that Bozoljac won in the first semi-final. And he yelled “C’mon!” It wasn’t just a yell, for he launched a remarkable turnaround, winning the next two sets 7-5, 6-3 to earn a final berth.

“I felt as if I won the Wimbledon on winning my first game,” said Bozoljac.

Meanwhile, Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh emerged winners in doubles, beating the Divij Sharan-Vishnu Vardhan pair 6-3, 3-6, 10-4 in the final.

RESULTS

Singles semi-finals: I. Bozoljac (Srb) bt A. Nedovyesov (1, Kaz) 0-6, 7-5, 6-3; E. Donskoy (Rus) bt S. Dev Varman (Ind) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Doubles final: S. Myneni (Ind)/S. Singh (Ind) bt D. Sharan (Ind)/V. Vardhan (Ind) 6-3, 3-6, 10-4