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Somdev to meet Donskoy in semis

Somdev Dev Varman

New Delhi: Somdev Dev Varman reached the semi-finals of the Delhi Open ATP Challenger the easy way when his Chinese rival, Ze Zhang, retired after the first set because of a shoulder injury. The second seeded Indian won the first set 6-2 in 34 minutes.

This was Somdev’s third consecutive semi-finals entry in the Challengers after Chennai and Calcutta. On Saturday, the Somdev will take on Russian Evgeny Donskoy, who made short work of his Moldovan opponent Radu Albot 6-2, 6-2 at the Centre Court of the RK Khanna Stadium.

In the Calcutta leg of the Challenger, Somdev lost to Donskoy but on Friday, he looked determined. “I feel happy to reach the semi-finals and I am in good form. I am now looking forward to winning two more matches,” he said at the end of the day.

Four years ago, Somdev had met Zhang on the rival’s home turf at the Guangzhou Asian Games. Then, too, Somdev had emerged the winner. “That was a different atmosphere… It was played in China, so he was playing in front of his home crowd. It was a very satisfactory win,” Somdev said.

On Friday, Zhang failed to hold on to his serve on three consecutive points, leaving Somdev to race to a 5-0 lead. Somdev won the eighth game to wrap up the set 6-2. The lanky Chinese then spoke to the umpire and conceded the tie.

“It’s unfortunate for Zhang…. He is a good player, one of the best in China. He has a big forehand and good serve. But it’s part of the game. I am happy to be through to the semis,” Somdev said.

In the other two quarter-finals, Oleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-4 and Ilija Bozoljac beat Illya Marchenko 6-4, 7-6.