New Delhi: Second seed Somdev Dev Varman dished out a patchy display against wildcard entrant Karunuday Singh before winning 6-2, 7-5 in the first round of the Delhi Open ATP Challenger on Tuesday.
Later in the day, local favourite and winner of the Chennai leg of the Challenger, Yuki Bhambri, suffered a shock first-round exit, when he went down to French Lucas Pouille in three sets. Bhambri lost 6-2, 5-7, 5-7 in a match that lasted 140 minutes.
Indian wildcard entry, Saketh Myneni, went down to his Italian challenger Thomas Fabbiano 6-7, 6-7.
Playing on the centre court at the RK Khanna Stadium, Somdev looked uncomfortable throughout the 87 minutes encounter and struggled with his service in the second set. His serve was broken thrice in this set, but he managed to break back on all occasions.
“I don’t know what my opponent felt but playing there in the middle was not easy,” said Somdev later.
“The court was slow and the bounce was not right. I am happy to come out with a win. In the second set, I put myself in a hole… I am happy to end with a win,” he added.
“It was a strange situation. The wind was coming from both sides. My intention was to put pressure on his serve and I did that. It was a kind of slow start for me,” he said.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, Somdev, was certainly not in his elements.
Apart from his vulnerable service, the top Indian player also made some unforced errors that allowed his rival to extend the second set.
Somdev, however, was full of praise for Karunuday placed 483 in the rankings.
“KU is a very good player, young and upcoming. I think he is moving in the right direction,” Somdev said.
Bhambri has only himself to blame for the defeat as he had enough opportunities to wrap up the tie after winning the first set.
No doubt the French boy played inspired tennis in the second set but Bhambri gave away the final set despite breaking his opponent early.
In another match, India's Ramkumar Ramanathan went down to Serbian Ilija Bozoljac, the winner of the Calcutta leg, 2-6, 7-6, 4-6.