NEW DELHI, Feb 22 (PTI): Somdev Devvarman earned himself a shot at his third ATP Challenger title as he fought past Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets to breeze into the final of the ONGC-GAIL Delhi Open, here today.
The second seed and 96th ranked Indian avenged his last week�s defeat against the Russian fourth seed with a 6-4, 6-2 win in an hour and 28 minutes in the semifinal of the USD 100,000 tournament at RK Khanna Tennis Stadium.
It was the third meeting between the two players. Somdev had won the first time they played last year in Miami Masters but lost to the 114th-ranked Russian last week in the semifinals of the Kolkata Challenger.
Somdev last won a Challenger level title in 2010 at the Izmir event in Turkey. He will now fight it out with top seed from Kazakhstan�s Aleksandr Nedovyesov, who battled past Serbia�s Ilija Bozoljac 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and 12 minutes.
Somdev had lost to Nedovyesov in the only meeting between them in 2012 in the qualifiers of the Tashkent Challenger.
Somdev played a solid game today as he rallied to come back strongly after Donskoy had rushed to a 3-0 lead in the opening set. His nerves settled after first hold, Somdev started to play much better.
Employing his usual strategy, Somdev kept the ball in play and from the very first point of the match, long rallies came into play. Both Somdev and Donskoy, who was ranked as high as 65 last year, were solid from the baseline, ripping backhands and forehands.
It was not easy to subdue Somdev from the baseline and this kind of a game only suited the Indian. It was Somdev who tried to change the course of the play by coming on the net, even as he did not have great success as he was passed easily by the Russian. Somdev tried to play it on Donskoy�s backhand and stroked very close to the lines, trying to open up the court, but the Russian was up to task and responded well to the challenge.
Not only the unforced errors but some great winners by both the players decided the long rallies. Donskoy felt the heat and started to make errors on key points, making it easy for Somdev.
�The guy had beaten me last week. Today I just had to fight hard and make life tough for him. I did not have a great start but I found my feet and was hitting with nice depth, moving the ball nicely. He is a quality opponent and I happy to be through to the final, it�s a while that I played a final,� he said.