India’s highest ranked men’s singles player Somdev Devvarman made a surprising first round exit in the ATP Istanbul Challenger tennis tournament.
Somdev, who climbed thirteen spots to hold the 101st position in the latest ATP rankings, came unstuck against the superior play of 175th ranked Russia Konstantin Kravchuk and lost in straight sets 2-6, 3-6.
Konstantin’s first serve percentage wasn’t any better than Somdev’s but the former tipped the scales in his favour by winning more first serve points than his higher ranked opponent.
The Russian got the crucial breaks of serve when it mattered to close out the opening set at 6-2. He did not loosen his guard in the second set and unsettled Somdev with solid ground strokes and clinical net play.
Konstantin broke the Indian’s serve in the second set, which paved the way for a facile second set win and the match at 6-3.
This was the first meeting between Konstantin and Somdev.
Earlier at the US Open last week, Somdev had reached the second round, where he lost to Spain’s 20th seed Andreas Seppi 6-7, 4-6, 5-7. The Tripura-born lad had put it across 86th ranked Slovakian Lukas Lacko 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round. Somdev had made it to the main draw after getting the better of UK’s James Ward 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the final qualifying round tie.
The Indian had earlier disposed of 221st ranked American Robby Ginepri and 237st ranked Brazilian Fabiano De Paula in the qualifying phase.
Despite the disappointing loss, Somdev has impressed with decent wins in recent times. He performed exceedingly well at the recent ATP Citi Open in Washington. Somdev upset defending champion and world number 25 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the second round before being slugged out by the big-serving American John Isner in the third round.
Somdev also made it to the semifinals of the ATP Nottingham challenger tournament. Earlier this year, he attained a semifinal finish at the ATP Caltanissetta Challenger in Italy, as well as a second-round appearance at the French Open after going through the qualifying route.
Meanwhile at the ATP Petange Challenger, 878th ranked Indian Purav Raja lost to 504th ranked Constant Lestienne of France 6-4, 2-6, 2-6 in the qualifying round. Earlier, the Indian got past 407th ranked Siarhei Betau of Belarus and 852nd ranked Mexican Siarhei Betau in the initial qualifying rounds.