Gritty Somdev goes down to Cilic in summit clash | sports | Hindustan Times
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Gritty Somdev goes down to Cilic in summit clash

sports Updated: Jan 11, 2009 20:02 IST

Somdev Devvarman's sensational run at the Chennai Open met with an anti-climactic end as the Indian lost the fiercely fought singles final to world number 27 and third seed Marin Cilic of Croatia 4-6 6-7 (3) in Chennai on Sunday.

Somdev's defeat meant that India's wait for an ATP title continues as no player from the host nation has emerged winner on the ATP Tour since Leander Paes' win at Newport in 1998. Nevertheless, the wild card entrant's memorable run at the USD 450,000 event, in which he stunned former world number one Carlos Moya and the king of aces Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, has already given him a superstar status. Somdev, with his brilliant effort, pocketed valuable 150 ranking points which will help take his current 202 placing near to the 150-mark.

Somdev and Cilic were locked in an intense battle but in the end the Croatian proved a few notches above the Indian as he did not let the local favourite capitalise on any of the first seven break points.

If Cilic handed Somdev a few chances to go up, he had a very strong game to ward off the threat as he compensated the follies with intelligent and piercing ground strokes that were too big to handle for Somdev.

Just when it looked the match slipped out of Somdev's hand when he was trailing 1-4 in the second set after having lost the first set, he brought the match alive by breaking Cilic for the first time in the ninth game of the lively encounter.

The match was stretched to the tie-breaker, in which Cilic prevailed to win his second ATP singles title.