Somdev Devvarman falls to Russian teen Rublev at Aircel Chennai Open 2016
The 2016 Aircel Chennai Open draw was a draw of potential. Potential stemming from the presence of young talent. Besides the star attractions in Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson and the other top seeds, youngsters such as Andrey Rublev and Borna Coric, who progressed earlier Monday, were the ones for tomorrow.
Rublev showed those present on Tuesday evening exactly what that potential was about as he put paid to local boy Somdev Devvarman's hopes in the first round, registering a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory.
After the initial exchanges, which the Indian had the better of, getting the early break as well. Rublev began to soon dictate the pace though with his sharp, pacy groundstrokes, especially off the forehand wing.
Devvarman was falling behind despite trying hard as he saw Rublev take control.
The break back came in the sixth game when Devvarman threw in a double fault and found himself under the gun. Down 15-40, he managed to save the first one, but Rublev managed to break with a punishing backhand down the line drawing the error. The teenaged Russian showed great feel in the opener finishing off points with some delightful drop shots.
Rublev went on to win four games in a row as he broke again in the eighth with after taking it to deuce, the groundstrokes down the line once again doing the most damage. Rublev served out the set in the next game without much trouble.
Rublev looked to be in good stead and Devvarman began to look for opportunities, trying to slow the game down with slices, none of which worked. Opportunity did present itself in the fourth game of the second though as Rublev reeled off three unforced errors in a row to hand the Indian a lifeline of sorts
That brought the crowd into the match and egged on, Devvarman clawed back into the match, en route winning perhaps the point of the match in the seventh game.
He met a strong Rublev pass at the net with a good volley, which the Russian got back across with a clip from the net, but Devvarman managed to cover it despite it being behind him and played a slice winner of his own. An ace on the next point led to Rublev letting out a scream in frustration.
Another ace at set point two games later and the match was level.
Rublev had by now grown ever edgier and the match hung in the balance in the early stages of the third with the Russian constantly raging away at his box. But he kept pushing even as Devvarman tried to edge forward. Having regained his composure, Rublev secured the decisive break in the sixth with some hard hitting groundstrokes.
He consolidated his break in the next after Devvarman tried to get the break back, with a spectacular down the line forehand wrapping up the game in style to give him a 5-2 lead. Serving for the match at 5-3, he had a brief hiccup, dropping to 15-30, but he came up with some powerful serves to finish off the match.
Devvarman later called it a case of "one bad game in the third", but that he was happy about his game and that he was in a better place from where he was same time, last year.
Rublev next plays the top seed and two-time defending champion, Stan Wawrinka.