Top seed Somdev Devvarman inched closer to a medal in the men's singles of the Commonwealth Games as he marched into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 win over sixth seed Rubin Statham of New Zealand in New Delhi on Thursday.
After an easy outing against Sri Lanka's Amresh Jayawickreme, Somdev had to do a lot of hard work today as the crowd favourite was engaged in a keen tussle with the Kiwi.
It was a a hard-fought win for the World No 97 compared to his 41-minute victory on Wednesday. He had to toil for an hour and 42 minutes against his opponent, who is ranked 353 in the ATP list.
With this win, Somdev maintained his all-win record against Statham having beaten him only other time they met. It was in 2008 at the qualifiers of the Lexington Challenger in USA.
Somdev was a lot more sharp on Thursday with his strokes but Statham also played intelligently, having done his homework.
He targetted Somdev's backhand using his booming forehand but Somdev paid him in the same coin.
In a series of service breaks, twice Somdev came back from behind to pocket the opening set although he had the first chance to go ahead.
A forehand winner helped him level the scores 2-2 and another one to shoot into a 4-2 lead.
He dropped his serve in the seventh game on a forehand error but broke back immediately and served out the set with an ace following a 46-minute intense contest.
Statham was trying too hard, resulting in unforced errors and one such forehand cost him the opening game of the second set. Out of frustration the Kiwi banged his racquet on the court and he never recovered from the early setback.
Somdev missed out on three match points in the seventh game while leading 5-1 and dropped his serve in the eighth, making home fans jittery, but finally served out the match in the 10th game.