Somdev Devvarman beats Jan Hajek in Chennai Open Round one

Devvarman, the 27-year-old wild card entry and on a comeback trail after a string of injuries, outplayed a limping Jan Hajek of Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.

Devvarman, a finalist here in 2009, was rarely troubled in the 69-minute match by the 106th-ranked Czech who seemed to be nursing a troublesome ankle that caused a medical time out in the second set as the courtside physio strapped the left foot.

In fact, Devvarman, who will next take on top seed and World No.6 Tomas Berdych, did as he pleased as he blasted seven aces and fired 25 winners, and built his victory on early service breaks in both sets while Hajek seemed to merely go through the motions. Devvarman opted for a modest view of his first round win and said it was a good start to the new season after being out of action for some six months due to shoulder injury that required a surgery.

“Yes, it is a good start for the New Year, but you can’t take any credit from Hajek who had a great season last year.

“Perhaps, he was practicing in the cold back home, but I have been preparing well for this tournament,” said Devvarman.

Qualifier Prakash Amritraj humbled Frenchman Guillaume Rufin 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3 to enter the second round of the Chennai Open tennis tournament yesterday.In the course of a courtside interview to his iconic father Vijay Amritraj, Prakash said he took a while to get his act together, but once in flow, began to feel comfortable. “I was a little bit off at the start and it was disappointing to lose the first set, but I buckled down thereafter and began to feel comfortable,” he said.

Asked about his fitness after having played two difficult three-setters in the qualifying rounds ahead of Tuesday’s match, Prakash said, “Two years ago, I was lying on the couch and wondering whether I would hit a ball at all. I picked up the racquet about six months ago and began to hit with my cousin Steven (Amritraj). “I have played a lot of tennis in the past one week and I hope that the organisers will give me a day’s break before my next match.” The 29-year old US-born Amritraj returning to the tour after a two-year break due to injuries, played sublime tennis to rout 92nd-ranked Rufin.  

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