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S-class ride in New York

sports Updated: Sep 02, 2009 00:21 IST
HT Correspondent/Agencies
HT Correspondent/Agencies
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza won their respective first round matches at the US Open to become the first Indian duo to advance together in singles at the Grand Slams. “I'm really happy we have two players in the second round of a Grand Slam. Things are looking up,” said Sania, after a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 over Russia's Olga Govortsova.

While Sania has had her bite of success at the Big Apple, it was a first for Somdev. The Indian overcame Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in almost an hour and a half to register his first Slam victory. He also became the first Indian man since Leander Paes at 2001 Wimbledon to win a round at the majors. “I don't want to jinx myself but I feel good about where I am,” Somdev said. “I've had a couple of quality wins. It gives me a lot of confidence and belief that I can come out and compete with anyone. My game is up there with the rest.

“It has been an emotional roller coaster for me. You are dealing with a lot of adversity but it makes you better. You keep fighting.”

At 106, Gil is ranked 56 places ahead of the Indian but nothing intimidating. The Portuguese had yet to win a round at Slams. Somdev dominated from start to finish, saved a lapse at the beginning of the second set, to seal the match.

“I played a really solid match. I concentrated hard and worked really hard. I am happy to have won my first round match and now I will get down to preparing for my next match on Wednesday against Phillip (Kohlschreiber).” The 23-seeded Kohlschreiber progressed with 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Italy's Andreas Seppi.

Meanwhile, Sania, whose best at the Open has been a fourth round finish in 2005, takes on Italian 10th seed Flavia Pennetta. Sania, who has been plagued with a wrist injury, said she was feeling fitter on court. “I'm happy with the way I'm playing. Physically I've never been fitter in terms of the way I'm moving on the court and playing in matches,” she said.