GUANGZHOU: Somdev Devvarman clinched a historic singles gold medal in Asian Games 2010. Somdev's emergence as a big-time Indian tennis star continued Tuesday as he completed a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan
in the Asian Games men’s singles final. It was India’s first-ever gold medal in men’s singles at the event and seventh gold overall at this year’s competition in Guangzhou, China.
Somdev dominated the 1 hour 22-minute title clash at the Aoti Tennis Stadium from start to finish as World No.40 Istomin committed a stream of errors and struggled with his serve, making as many as eight double faults.
Somdev, who partnered Sanam Singh for a gold in the doubles Monday, was fourth after Leander Paes (Hiroshima 1994), Mahesh Bhupathi (Bangkok, 1998) and Prahlad Srinath (Bangkok 1998) to win a singles medal in tennis at the Asian Games.
With Somdev's victory, India finished their tennis competition with five medals -- two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. In the previous Asiad edition at Doha, India won two golds (men's doubles, mixed doubles) and two silver medals (women's singles and team).
The performance stands out in the absence of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, who pulled out of the Asian Games as they are busy playing in the World Tour Finals .
Somdev himself played part in three of those medals. The Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist combined with Sanam to clinch the men's doubles gold after guiding the men's team to a bronze medal. Sania Mirza, who won the singles bronze, combined with Vishnu Vardhan for a silver in the mixed doubles event.
The Tripura boy showed amazing stamina throughout the competition, having played 15 matches and losing just one in 11 days.
The Indian was off colour during his scratchy three-set win over fourth-seeded Tatsuma Ito of Japan Monday.
However, the second seed dispelled any doubts over his form this day. The Indian's cause was boosted by mounting errors from Istomin and he gradually raised his game to make it a lopsided battle. His serve which was left wanting a day before was also on target and he even hit five aces in the match.
The Indian sprinted to a 5-0 lead and was serving for the first set, but was broken to gift Istomin his first game. He, however, immediately broke back to go up a set.
The Uzbek showed signs of resurrection in the beginning of the second set, but the Indian did not allow the momentum to shift and closed out the match, breaking Istomin thrice.