Somdev Devvarman, enjoying the adulation that befits a superstar following his entry into the semi-finals of the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament in Chennai on Friday, attributed his success to his match preparation and a simple gameplan of "going out there and giving my best".
Devvarman, who is currently based in the United States, beat sixth seed and former World No 1 Carlos Moya on Thursday night in the quarter-finals and fourth seed Ivo Karlovic on Friday.
The 23-year-old highest ranked Indian on the tour at 202 and who grew up here, refused to be swayed by the outpouring of emotions in the wake of his spectacular run in the tournament.
"It is unbelievable," he said, referring to the massive fan following and crowd support. "I grew up in this town and that makes it special."
He attributed his victory on Friday to the confidence he gained from defeating Moya, twice winner here, on Thursday night.
"My win last night gave me a lot of confidence. I was solid off the ground and played baseline rallies. That's where I wanted to be. I know Karlovic has a big serve and when you play guys like that, it becomes a huge mental game. I think my preparation helped me a lot today," said Devvarman.
Thursday night, besides the three-setter against Moya, Devvarman also competed in the doubles partnering Prakash Amritraj.
"I just iced myself and prepared for tonight's match. In fact, I did not feel like I was on court for over three hours yesterday," he said.
Looking ahead to the semi-final against third seeded Marin Cilic on Saturday, Devvarman said: "I will treat it as just another match. It does not matter to me whether it is a quarter-final, semi-final or a final. I just want to go out there and give my best."
"Like yesterday's match, I would like to put tonight's game behind me. I would like to play to my strengths and take care of my game," he added.
Devvarman said he would not like to put himself under pressure by thinking about rankings or his opponent, but preferred to play to his strength and work hard at his game.
"I don't want to put any number to my game. If you work hard and compete hard, the ranking will take care of itself.
A stunned and obviously distraught Karlovic, known for his huge serves, struggled for words to explain his defeat.
"Horrible, horrible, horrible...I can't remember when I played so badly. It is not worth talking about," said Karlovic after the match. "He played well and was keeping the ball in the court and I was amazingly bad."