Top seed Somdev Devvarman survived a scare before progressing to the pre-quarterfinals of the men's singles tennis event of the Commonwealth Games as the Indian struggled past Bahamas' Devin Mullings 6-4 6-2 in the opening round in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Mullings gave a rude shock to the home fans by racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but Somdev clawed his way back in the match by winning five games in a row.
The thunderous forehands of the Bahamas' left-hander had left Somdev gasping but soon blazing sun over the Centre Court took a toll on Mullings, who started suffering cramps, which played a part in preventing a huge upset in the men's singles.
Mullings took a medical time out in the seventh game of the first set and from there on the tide turned in the favour of Somdev.
The unforced errors started to flow from Mullings' racquet. Two long forehand handed Somdev two break chances and the Indian Somdev converted the second with a stunning double handed back-hand winner.
Again, unforced errors, this time a double fault handed Somdev a break in the third game of the second set.
Mullings lost his rhythm but was not ready to throw in the towel and fought hard. He earned two breakpoints in the sixth game but Somdev saved fist with an ace and second with a forehand winner.
A second break of serve put Somdev ahead 5-2 and an easy hold pushed the Indian to second round.
Later in the day, top seeded Indian pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will take on Sri Lanka's Dineshkanthan Thangarajah and Jayawickreme Amresh.
The women's pair of Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesh will open their campaign against Maldives' Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih.