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Dev Varman reigns

New Delhi: Somdev Dev Varman ended his four-year title drought in international tennis with an emphatic triumph over Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the Delhi Open ATP Challenger on Sunday.

Playing in front of a big crowd at RK Khanna Stadium’s Centre Court, Somdev gave a display of strong service and accurate baseline game to outclass top seed Nedovyesov 6-3, 6-1 in just 59 minutes, and pocket the winners’ purse of $14,400. So powerful was Somdev’s dominance in the match that former Davis Cupper Jaidip Mukerjea, who was in the VIP stands, felt the 29-year-old Indian was now ready for the top players in the big league.

“Somdev is flying out to Dubai tonight and would play (Juan Martin) del Potro in his first match. I won’t be surprised if he manages to do something extraordinary. The boy now has got the confidence and the legs to challenge the best in the world,” said Mukerjea.

Somdev, too, said he was ready for the Dubai Open. “Del Potro is a fantastic player… but if I can hold on to my own, I can always grow. Today was a great day. I won my first singles title after 2010. I feel blessed with this win,” he said.

The victory in the Delhi Challenger was surely a memorable one for Somdev as he bagged it without dropping a set in the entire week. On Sunday evening, he was in devastating form as he conceded only eight points in his 10 service games. The closest the Kazakh came was in the fifth game of the second set when Somdev held his serve after twice reaching deuce.

The match turned in Somdev’s favour in the ninth game. Nedovyesov played inconsistently and dropped his service by smashing the ball into the net. Somdev broke him again in the ninth game to pocket the set.

The second set was even more one-sided. While the Kazakh made too many unforced errors, Somdev remained focussed. He broke Nedovyesov early in the second game that saw the Kazakh throwing his racquet in frustration. Not much was left in the match after this.

In the three back-to-back Challenger tournaments held in Chennai, Calcutta and Delhi, Somdev made the semi-finals in the first two also. Except the one in Calcutta, Indians bagged titles in the other two with Yuki Bhambri winning the one in Chennai.