CHENNAI, India Former Cavalier tennis player Somdev Devvarman defeated world No. 25 Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (4), 6-4 Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Chennai Open. With the victory, Devvarman advances to his first career ATP Tour semifinal as Karlovic is the highest ranked opponent Devvarman has defeated in his career.
On Saturday, Devvarman will play Rainer Schuettler of Germany, the world No. 33, in the semifinals. He is the first Indian to reach the semifinals in Chennai since Leander Paes in 1998. He received a wild card into the event this year.
In Friday’s match, neither Devvarman or Karlovic could get a break point on the other’s serve in the first set. In the first set tiebreaker, Devvarman won the opening point off of the 6’10” Croat’s serve and then held that one mini-break advantage by winning every point on his serve to take the opening set. The second set began like the first with both players holding serve with ease over the first nine games. In the 10th game, Devvarman got the first break point opportunity for match point. After Karlovic saved that first match point, Devvarman won the next point to set up his second match point, which he won for the biggest win of his young professional career.
A day earlier, Devvarman posted his first top 50 win of his career with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 42 Carlos Moya in the second round. Moya, a former world No. 1, is a two-time Chennai Open champion.
Devvarman is currently ranked No. 202 in the world and with his performance in Chennai, will move into the top 200 for the first time in his career. Next week he will head to Melbourne, Australia for the 2009 Australian Open Qualifying Draw.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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