India's Somdev Devvarman was at his fluent best on way to the
men's singles final while Sania Mirza took time to come on top in
the women's singles semi-final of the tennis competition at the
Commonwealth Games here Friday.
Somdev's run in men's doubles, however, was halted when he and
Rohan Bopanna went down to third-seeded Englishmen Ross Hutchins
and Ken Skupski 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 in the semi-finals.
There was bigger disappointment and disbelief a little later when
top seeds Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were knocked out by
fourth-seeded Australian pair Peter Luczak and Paul Hanley 6-2,
6-2 in the semi-finals.
In the singles. Somdev eased into the final with a 6-3, 6-1 win
over third-seeded Australian Mattt Ebden, but it was hard work for
second-seeded Sania as she had to fight from a set and a break
down to snatch a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over sixth-seeded Australian
Unlike the sluggish start in his previous two outings, World No.
97 Somdev took charge of the match straightaway. He served so well
that he shed his characteristic baseline play, often charged the
net to finish 70 percent the points he won.
Somdev also cleverly kept the ball in play to wear the Australian
down. Bent invariably angled his shots out or hit wide even when
the Indian was out of position.
In the second set, in particular, Somdev extracted errors from the
Australian at will by making him run around the back court.
The Indian broke Ebden only to drop his serve in the fourth game.
He, however, recovered in time to reel off the last three games to
pocket the first set.
There was no stopping the top-seeded Somdev, who sprinted through
the second set in just 34 minute once he effected the initial
break in the fourth game.
The break came as Ebden put a high backhand volley out, followed
it by hitting a simple backhand cross-court out and finally netted
a backhand to drop the serve at love. Once he got the break,
Somdev simply toyed with him and it was all over for Ebden in an
"It feels great to be in the final. The significance of this win
is huge. It's guaranteed a medal for the country, today is
definitely a big day for me," said Somdev, who plays Australia's
Greg Jones in the final.
"I have never played Greg before. But he serves really well and I
will have to do my best."
Sania,too, was elated with the victory.
"Somdev and I reaching the singles finals is a great thing for
India. Few years ago no one would have imagined that. Hopefully,
we will be able to win gold."
In contrast, Sania had a woeful start to her semi-final. Her serve
deserted her in the first set and she was unable to hold her serve
even once. The only game that came her way was when Rogowska
dropped her serve in the second game.
The Austrian, who had beaten India's Rushmi Charkravarthi in the
quarter-finals Thursday night, played solid groundstrokes and sent
Sania scurrying from one end to the other end. All that because
Sania's trademark forehand winners were not easily forthcoming.
She, however, did enough in the second set and third sets to run
Watched by her parents and husband and former Pakistan cricket
captain Shoaib Malik, Sania put up a resolute display in the
second set. After being down 1-3 she broke back Rogowska in the
fourth and the sixth games to make it a set all.
In the decider Sania, backed by a raucous crowd, notched up a 4-1
lead. The following three games saw neither player holding their
serve before Sania held her's in the 10th to serve out the set and
the match after nearly two hour's struggle.
"There are days when you are not at your best. She (Rogowska) was
playing absolutely great, but taking no credit away from her, I
also allowed her to play like that. Hopefully, I will not play
like this tomorrow," Sania said.