Somdev Devvarman avenged the loss to Marin Cilic in Chennai Open final by upsetting the Croatian sixth seed 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday to reach the third round of the ATP Washington Classic.
In what he called his greatest career victory, the 24-year-old qualifier connected on 62 per cent of his first serves and saved five of seven breakpoints to advance past 15th-ranked Cilic after one hour 42 minutes.
“All along I played well,” Devvarman said. “My gameplan was to compete as hard as possible and let the chips fall where they would. I took my chances well. I’m proud of the result.”
Cilic defeated Devvarman in January’s Chennai ATP final, denying Devvarman a stirring triumph in his hometown and in his first ATP championship match. “I feel like I did a lot of things well in that match. He did better,” said Devvarman.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s 62nd-ranked Lu Yen-Hsun made an upset bid of his own but fell short as defending champion and second seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory. Sixth-ranked Del Potro will face either Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt or Israel’s Dudi Sela.
Devvarman, a two-time US college national champion at nearby University of Virginia, evoked loud support from fans. But reflecting on the achievement was not something Devvarman was willing to do while still fighting for a title.
“I’ve put in a lot of work. I’m doing things the right way,” Devvarman said. “I’ll take a deep breath when I have some breathing space.”
Devvarman, who finally has a day off after four matches in as many days, will next face 33rd-ranked Croatian super server Ivo Karlovic or Germany’s Rainer Schuettler. Devvarman beat Karlovic in his run to the Chennai final.
US top seed Andy Roddick, in his first event since losing an epic Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, could await Devvarman in the quarters of the $1.4 million hardcourt event.
“Andy who?” joked Devvarman. “I’m aware of where I am but I have to take it one match at a time.”
Germany’s Benjamin Becker fired 27 aces to beat American Robby Ginepri 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/4) and book a second-round match with Roddick, a three-time Washington champion who had an opening bye.
Former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain beat Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-0 to reach the second round just two days after losing to Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko in a clay final at Umag, Croatia.
Ferrero, the 2003 French Open winner, snapped a five-year title drought in April at Casablanca and won the last match to give Spain a 3-2 Davis Cup quarter-final win over Germany last month.
“I’m motivated,” Ferrero said. “I’ve returned to the same level as before.”