Dubai: Somdev Dev Varman, on Tuesday, reached the pre-quarter finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, following world No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro’s decision to retire after the first set of the match.
Somdev, ranked 78, had won the first set in tie-break 7-6 (3) in an hour and seven minutes. Immediately after the first set, Del Potro took a medical timeout due to pain in his left wrist. The Argentine second seed found it tough to continue and conceded the match.
Somdev had lost 4-6, 4-6 to Del Potro last year at this very event in the pre-quarters.
This is Somdev’s first ever win against a top-5 player, who is also a Grand Slam champion. Del Potro is the 2009 US Open winner.
Somdev has competed against the legends of the game like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but never got the better of them. Djokovic, meanwhile, made light work of Denis Istomin to advance in the Dubai meet.
The top seed and defending champion needed just an hour and 24 minutes to see off his Uzbek opponent 6-3, 6-3. The Serb struck 26 winners and 6 aces.
Before Tuesday’s match, Somdev’s biggest wins were against Croatia’s Marin Cilic (world No. 15) and Ivo Karlovic (world No. 25) in 2009 and against Cyprus’ world No. 22 Marcos Baghdatis in 2010.
In the pre-quarters on Wednesday, Somdev will take on Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri who defeated Igor Sijsling of Netherlands 0-6, 6-4, 7-6.
In men’s doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi progressed to the quarter finals after overcoming qualifiers Nikolay Davydenko and Victor Hanescu via super tie-breaker.
The second seeded Indo-Pak pair defeated the Russian-Romanian combo 6-1, 5-7, 10-8 in one hour and 28 minutes in the opening round.
Bopanna and Qureshi broke their rivals twice to run away with the opening set.
However, Davydenko and Hanescu regrouped to break the second seeds twice in the second set to stretch the match to a super tie-breaker.
Bopanna and Qureshi held their nerves to edge past the Russian-Romanian pair in the Super tie-b reaker. (Agencies)